Coronavirus and funeral restrictions, embalmers are concerned

Embalmers, funeral directors, and cemeteries are facing new challenges with COVID-19, 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended drastic measures to slow the spread of the deadly virus by reducing the number of mourners at a funeral to ten, which includes family members.

LIVE: Interactive map tracks global spread of COVID-19

Funerals are normally times when family members come together to share tears, hugs and show support, but the coronavirus crisis has changed that.

"We are having difficulty convincing families that they can't have large groups because they have people coming from out of town. Some of the churches will not stand up and say you can't do this, but now that we have gone to 10 people, some funeral homes are going to graveside services only," Rockdale County Coroner Gregory Levett said on a teleconference call.

Those CDC suggestions mandate that mourners stand six feet apart even during the outdoor funerals. President of Southview Cemetery Association Winnie Hemphill said her historic operation has made lots of changes.'

"We are not providing tents or chairs for graveside services in an attempt to discourage people from congregating at the graveside funerals," Mrs. Hemphill reported. 

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Embalmer Latasha Grant is the chair of the 9th District of Georiga Funeral Service Practitioner's Association, she said many professionals in her industry are not getting the proper notification when bodies have tested positive for COVID-19.

"We do not know when these bodies are infected with the virus, either the hospital has not divulged that information to us, or the family does not want to tell us because they are ashamed that the body has COVID-19," Ms. Grant revealed.

State Representative Vernon Jones challenged the industry to do better during the Rockdale County teleconference call.

"I want to say to all the funeral home industry and I listened to the governor and he stressed this too. It is not about the money right now, it is not about profit. it is about governing yourselves accordingly," Rep. Jones exclaimed.

Know how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting Georiga

Best prevention measures:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces


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