SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - As we continue our coverage the coronavirus in Michiana Beacon Health officials tell 16 News Now they’re now in possession of a refrigerated trailer. We told you last week they will use it to house bodies as memorial hospital’s morgue nears capacity.

Now tonight, we’re going beyond that headline, as our Joshua Short looks at how the recent spike in coronavirus cases is affecting local funeral homes.

The surge continues as COVID-19 cases and hospitalization numbers rise to record levels, levels health officials warned us about. Now, a new warning. Local funeral homes could soon be overwhelmed.

“When someone is deceased or someone dies at one of the hospitals, the funeral home should be called,” said VP of McGann Hay Funeral Homes Mike McGann. With those hospitals now recording daunting death tolls, funeral homes are getting flooded with COVID-19 fatalities and grieving families.

“I can’t speak for other funeral homes, but I know we’ve had our share,” he added.

Dozens, in fact, last week we told you McGann Hay Funeral Homes has seen over two dozen bodies, all COVID-19 deaths. So depending on the funeral home, this can be overwhelming.

“The storage capacity for refrigeration for each funeral home varies depending on the size of the funeral home and the amount of business that they have,” McGann said. who’s also seen this pandemic from his capacity as coroner of St. Joseph County.

Roosevelt Cobb is the owner of Cobb Funeral Home on South Bend’s South Side. He says he’s seen a recent spike in COVID-19 services.

“At least four of the last five services that I’ve done in the month of November have been COVID positive and that’s unusual for me,” Cobb said. He added: “In a way it’s unusual because I’ve not seen that number in the last 9 months.”

None of us has seen numbers like this in the last nine months. Another brutal reality for families and local funeral directors tonight. And the official start to the holiday season is still just days away.

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