Coronavirus deaths: Funeral homes prepare as outbreak continues

Updated: Jul. 26, 2020 at 5:46 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Just as hospitals are planning to deal with a surge in patients because of COVID-19 -- the funeral industry is also preparing as the outbreak continues to grow.

This is a normal routine for Damien Murriel -- A funeral director at Jackson Memorial.

Since March though he’s prepared more caskets because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We may not be given the title first responders. There’s a slogan in our industry where we are called last responders. We’re called last responders because when a person passes we have to be notified.”

The funeral home handles more than 500 services every year.

Comparing the past four months to last year -- Murriel says he's helped 30 more families say goodbye.

All of the additional deaths were from COVID-19.

“The death rate is a little bit higher than the norm because there’s been a surge of people who are COVID positive. It’s not just older people. It can be any age.”

Dealing with death is already challenging but the pandemic adding other heartaches.

Families aren't able to see their loved ones with the virus during their final moments.

"That really really hurts. It's very difficult losing a loved one, but when you are not with them in that final moment. There's a void or there's feeling of they just weren't able to be there for them."

And families are limited on the number of people who can attend the funeral.

“It’s very difficult when you have to do something against the norm. Right now, this is the new way.”

Murriel is preparing to deal with more deaths as cases of the virus surge across the area.

Giving families the final memory of their relative.

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