The head of the Cook County medical examiner's office says it was forced to store bodies two to a cooler tray for a short time.
Medical Examiner Nancy Jones says a confluence of circumstances caused overcrowding, including a spike in deaths during the holidays, delayed pickups by funeral homes and a delay in receiving
coffins to hold the remains of the indigent. Poor weather in November also delayed burials.
Jones says the overcrowding diminished as funeral homes resumed their normal hours this month.
Jones said doubling up in the cooler is rare, and the recent occasion was not as bad as past events, including the 1995 heat wave caused hundreds of deaths in days.
There are about 300 cooler trays at the county morgue.