Funeral homes have exceeded limitation during the pandemic

Many families in Mississippi find themselves planning the final services during a pandemic

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NORTH, Miss. (WCBI) – Many families in Mississippi find themselves planning the final services during a pandemic and covid complications have led to more deaths.

It is never easy to say goodbye to a family member, but the people who are there to comfort families during times of grief say since March, they have seen an increase in services.

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“The number of deaths have increased seeing more deaths since the pandemic,” said Jeremy Belle, manager of Belle Memorial in Aberdeen.

He says the funeral home has had to dig a little deeper in their pockets through the pandemic.

“We’ve had to buy more supplies, you know, seeing a lot more money have to go out because all the PPE you have to have,” said Belle.

There are strict rules on taking care of people who died from Covid 19 complications that have to be followed to keep funeral directors safe.

“We got these overall jumpsuits that we put in, we take the disinfectant, we disinfect the pick up vehicles, all our carts; and so when we get here we disinfect again inside the embalming room, and disinfect the person,” said Belle.

Many families in Aberdeen prefer traditional funerals, but in Columbus; funeral directors say they are seeing families with different needs.

“We have seen a pretty big increase in cremation of course we do have our own crematory here and our crematory has done well above and beyond what we have seen in previous years,” said Lowndes Funeral Home director, Caleb Pounders

He said their chapel has been closed since October 2020, and feels that despite the pandemic there are other reasons death rates are higher than usual.

” Right now we’re getting into the baby boomer generation and that generation is coming of age where they’re starting to pass away,” said Pounders.

Plus, it means more families need guidance than in previous years.

“Before covid, like in 2019, we were doing maybe an average of 15-20 families a month; last month December of 2020 we had 40 families last month,” said Pounders

Funeral directors in both locations say they are hopeful a vaccine will help stop the spread of Covid-19.