With death rates rising across the world due to COVID-19, funeral directors have peppered the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) with questions about how to safely manage COVID-19 remains. Guidelines vary according to state and local authorities. However, certain policies guarantee best practices across the board. While we recommend you defer to local government officials, the following blog post outlines guidelines we are following at Foothill Funeral & Cremation, which is located in LA County, in the San Gabriel Valley, in the city of Glendora, California.
Foothill Funeral & Cremation & COVID-19 (Per CDC Guidelines)
People who died from COVID-19 can be buried or cremated. But we check for any additional tribal, state, local, or territorial requirements. These could dictate the handling and disposition of the body. These rules apply to individuals who die from certain infectious diseases. This includes COVID-19 remains.
- We are currently meeting with potential clients and families by appointment only.
- Call one of our funeral directors to schedule the pick-up or drop-off of paperwork or other items.
- We will allow no more than two people at a time in the office.
- In the event someone dies with the Coronavirus, we instruct staff to avoid touching the body before preparing it for viewing.
- Although we are still learning about the ways that COVID-19 spreads, experts suspect that touching the body of someone who has died of COVID-19 could put you at risk. For this reason, we are extremely careful while preparing the body for viewing. During preparation, we take steps to reduce the chance of spreading the virus via the prepared body.
- To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, our preparation makes it possible for family members to engage in certain types of touching, such as holding the decedent’s hand or hugging. However, we recommend against other activities, such as kissing, washing, and shrouding before and during body preparation.
After COVID-19 Remains Contact
After contact with the body, we make sure everyone carefully washes their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water are not readily available, we provide hand sanitizer which contains at least 60% alcohol.
- For transporting remains, if we need to move the body of a tribal member, we don disposable gloves and contain the body in a body bag, an impermeable shroud, or another impermeable covering that does not allow body fluids to leak from the enclosure. The virus that causes COVID-19 is not thought to be carried by blood (bloodborne.) However, leaked fluids could lead to pathogen exposure to.
- If we use a body bag, we disinfect the outside of the bag with an EPA-approved disinfectant. We also follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting products including concentration, application method, and contact time.
- Following transport of the body, we instruct staff to carefully remove gloves and immediately wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, we offer hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
About Foothill Funeral & Cremation Services in Glendora, California
Whether you choose to hold a memorial or funeral now or wait until restrictions are further eased, we would love to help you celebrate your loved one’s life. At Foothill, we will do our best to make sure you can mourn the loss of your loved one in a safe manner. Feel free to contact us now to pre-plan your own memorial or at your time of need (626) 335-0615. Our relationship with United Methodist Church and Sacred Heart provide great places for mourners to host funerals and memorials. However, LA County may limit the number of people who can attend such an event in light of COVID-19. Call today to speak to one of our funeral directors about current options.