Death rates in Lowndes County have risen over the years
Just two months into the year, Lowndes County has seen an unusually high number of deaths
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Just two months into the year, Lowndes County has seen an unusually high number of deaths. The coroner’s office has worked 168 deaths so far.
Greg Merchant has seen a lot of death in his time as coroner in Lowndes County, but the numbers he’s seen so early in the year are staggering. The death rate is climbing in Lowndes County, and it’s keeping the coroner busy on almost a daily basis.
“This year our call number is 168; into 2020 on this date we were call number 103 so it’s roughly a 65-70 call increase over the last couple of years,” said Merchant.
Lowndes County coroner Greg Merchant said when he started his career, the total number of deaths per year stayed around 700. In the last couple of years, he’s seen that number go into the 900’s.
The increase in deaths has also affected the workload at funeral homes.
“Over the last couple of years we’ve seen a steady increase and of course that can be contributed to several different causes especially this time of the year it could be weather related,” said Lowndes Funeral Home director Caleb Pounders.
Pounders said his staff has seen record numbers in the past month and a half.
“We had taken care of 37 families this year we have already taken care of 57 families,” said Pounders.
While COVID deaths factor into those numbers, Pounders points out families are laying to rest loved ones who’ve died under many other circumstance. He says that’s why it’s important to plan for the future.
“Be prepared for that. So come and talk to any funeral home in advance and go ahead and start putting your wishes down on paper; that’s the best thing for your family,” said Pounders.