(CMR) Funeral homes in Southern California have started refusing bodies as many are running out of space due to a high number of COVID-19 related deaths.
There have been over 10,000 COVID-19 deaths in Los Angeles County alone.
Mortuaries in the state are overwhelmed with the increased deaths as the United States nears 350,000 COVID-19 related deaths.
Bob Achermann, executive director of the California Funeral Directors Association, said,
“The volume is just incredible and they fear that they won’t be able to keep up. And the worst of the surge could still be ahead of us.”
Mortuary owners have been contacting each other to help handle the overflow; however, they face a similar situation of not having enough space.
Magda Maldonado, the owner of Continental Funeral Home in Los Angeles, said,
“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'.”
Continental removes an average of 30 bodies a day; this is six times its normal rate.
Some mortuaries have rented refrigerators to help to address the lack of space.
Hospitals in Los Angeles are also overwhelmed and struggle to keep up with basics such as oxygen as they treat an unprecedented number of patients with respiratory issues.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, more than 20 million people in the US have been infected.