Musgrove Family Mortuary: Local funeral homes take precautions as they start to bury deceased COVID-19 patients

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by Stephanie Rothman and Staff

LANE COUNTY, Ore. - Local funeral homes are ramping up sanitation and making new changes to funeral proceedings.

According to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence that diseases can be transmitted from a corpse.

However, workers that transport former patients to the morgue and then funeral homes are at risk.

They are taking extra steps to keep staff sanitary while transporting former patients.

With 55 deaths in Oregon, funeral homes should soon be seeing an influx of deceased COVID-19 patients.

Musgroves Mortuaries and Cemeteries here in Lane County have buried one patient that tested positive and several others that had symptoms but never got testing before passing.

They are ramping up sanitary precautions by increasing deep cleaning of all facilities.

This includes four cemeteries and eight funeral homes.

Management is also limiting interaction between staff and providing them with more PPE.

"It is a difficult thing to have not only a family grieving but now they have protocols that they can't do like if they want an open visitation and they want to have the whole community come and we have to limit that," said Musgroves Manager, Joe Sharps.

Virtual funerals have been popular with some people saying goodbye via Facebook live.

They're also working with families who are now forced to limit services by having only a handful of people at the funeral home.

They've expanded planning online, on the phone and by email.

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