Here in Minnesota we’re fortunate we haven’t yet experienced a death due to COVID-19. Our state leadership is taking aggressive and quick preventative action, plus we have stellar medical care.
In the event this coronavirus catches up with us, we reached out to funeral director Dan McGraw of Gill Brothers Funeral Service and Cremation for his thoughts on how to plan. He shared the below information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other sources for frequently asked questions surrounding death due to COVID-19.
Funeral or Visitation Services
At this time there is no known risk in attending a funeral or visitation service for someone who passed away due to COVID-19. However, at the time of this writing such gatherings are discouraged by the State of Minnesota due to the likelihood of transmission between attendees. Because funerals or celebrations of life are necessary to help survivors begin the grieving process and to get the needed support from family and friends, an initial service (even if limited in scope) starts the process towards healing. There will be time for a more formal service when the current restrictions are lifted.
Handling a COVID-19 Deceased Body
Some cultural and religious practices include washing or shrouding the body. The CDC recommends working with your community’s religious leaders and funeral director on how to accomplish this while reducing exposure. Burials and cremation for decedents of COVID-19 is not known to be a risk for survivors. However, it is important to keep in mind older community members and those with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to developing serious complications. For this reason it is advised not to touch the body of a person who has died of COVID-19.
Day to day our country, state and communities are experiencing new recommendations and regulations. Be sure to check the Center for Disease Control website for updated information. Minnesota funeral homes are also keeping on top of the Minnesota Department of Health rules and regulations.