Southern California funeral homes are forced to turn away bereaved families as they running out of space for bodies because of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.
Funeral homes are flooding while the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States is more than 350,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
“I’ve been in the funeral industry for 40 years and never in my life did I think that this could happen, that I’d have to tell a family, `No, we can’t take your family member,'” says Magda Maldonado, owner of Continental Funeral Home in Los Angels.
The funeral home has an average of 30 body removals a day, six times more than normal. The owners of different funeral homes in the state are in contact to see if someone can handle the overflow, and the answer is always the same: they are also full, says the media.
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At the same time, the entire process of burying and cremating bodies has been slowed, including embalming bodies and obtaining death certificates. In normal times, cremation could occur in a day or two, now it takes at least a week or more, according to the executive director of the California Funeral Directors Association Bob Achermann.
Meanwhile, there are fears that holiday gatherings could fuel another surge in cases in the US, where the total number of infected has exceeded 20 million.