‘There’s been an uptick:’ Valley funeral homes seeing increase in COVID-related deaths
Since Monday, Hidalgo County has reported 42 coronavirus-related deaths, causing a McAllen funeral home director to plan more COVID-related funerals.
“Out of every 10 calls we get, maybe six are COVID,” said Timothy Brown, manager of Ric Brown Family Funeral Home. “There's been an uptick, and it seems like since the first of the year, we've seen more numbers."
Brown said the funeral home is currently doing 10 to 12 COVID-related funerals per week.
"We had a few months like October, November where maybe one or two COVID cases and the cases really dropped, where we were hardly having any,” Brown said.
Brown says it doesn't compare to the summer of 2020, when he was doing about 20 embalmings a day.
“To be honest with you, it's very difficult to handle the wave because you don't know what's going to happen tomorrow," Brown said. It's hard to manage your staff because you don't know if you need more staff, or you don't know if you need less staff."
In Hidalgo County, 140 people died of virus-related reasons in the last four weeks. Brown says the increase in deaths is also impacting families.
"Oftentimes when someone passes away with COVID, the family has COVID, and so they're quarantined, and they're not able to do anything as far as planning the funeral for several weeks,” Brown said. “And then when they do get around to planning the funeral, oftentimes the cemeteries don't have room to bury at this time, and you have to wait another couple of weeks.”
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