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Funeral Home Owner Offers Grim Warning as Morgues Fill Up With COVID-19 Victims: ‘Mask It or Casket'

Funeral home directors shared their warning in July.

“We have bodies that are stacking up in our funeral homes,” Continental Funeral Home Harold Cole told NBCLA then.

Magnda Maldonado, with the low-income Continental Funeral Homes chain in LA County, says it’s getting worse now.

“We are overwhelmed,” Maldonado said. “We’re almost fully stocked and there’s nowhere else to put the decedents.”

Under state law, bodies must be either embalmed or refrigerated within 24 hours of death. With the COVID-19 protocol in place, many funeral homes have to use refrigeration for those bodies for at least 72 hours to make sure the threat of the virus is minimal. It’s why storage space is at a premium.

“I have had to turn some people away,” said Candy Boyd, of Boyd Funeral Home in Westmont.

Usually when business is booming, that’s a good thing. But for the family-owned Boyd Funeral Home, it means far too many people are dying.

“I have several different stories I could tell you about families that’s just in shock, they can’t believe their family contracted COVID.”

Father Chris Ponnet, a chaplain at LA County USC Medical Center, says he sees the frustration and sadness families are already feeling, now compounded with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement of body bags and mobile morgues across the state.

“I can only imagine now as the news breaks about the body bags and families have someone critical or near death, that will only add to their fear and frustration,” Ponnet said.

Boyd says she tells people all the time to love on the ones you have because you never know what tomorrow holds.

She says as bleak as it may seem, the idea to “mask it or casket” could be the only way to help ease the burden on funeral homes and families.

“The numbers are real. And we all have to do our part,” she said.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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