This time of year New York City typically deals with between 150 to 200 deaths per day. At the peak of this pandemic New York was experiencing over 800 deaths per day just in hospitals alone. That doesn’t even count people who passed away in nursing homes or at home.
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Even though New York was seeing a surge in cremations over the last couple of years, our capacity has not increased.
The issue that we ran into in New York was that when the crematories realized that they needed to extend their hours in order to accommodate the number of deaths that we were having, they needed to get permission from the state to do that. They didn’t get permission right away so before this even started we were behind.
If you imagine our capacity to handle an increase in deaths as a sponge, right now it is full and it is dripping wet. And then the **** hit the fan.
Funeral directors are sleeping at the office for three or four hours and then they’re working for another 14 to 18 hours, and it’s not enough. Its been like this relentlessly for weeks and it will continue like this for weeks.
Just to put into perspective how big the backlog was for burials and Cremations in New York as a result of the covid epidemic: Today is June 12th. Funerals occurred today for people who died April 29th.
And yet in all of this these professionals were continuing to go to work even though it meant that they were getting sick. Some of them have died. I’m sure their families have gotten sick.
When you hear that horrible stereotype about funeral directors that I’m not going to repeat here, I want you to think about those people who are moving mountains, on fumes, in the name of service.
Funeral homes in the tri-state area have been begging for help but they are running out of room. They have turned their chapels, their garages, even their offices into storage for bodies so that they can continue accommodating the families that are calling them.