Some area funeral homes prepare for possible spike in COVID-19 deaths

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 7:33 PM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) – Some funeral homes in Central Texas are preparing for a spike in COVID-19 deaths while officials in some of the state’s largest counties are procuring refrigerator trucks to serve as temporary morgues.

The state reported 174 more deaths from the virus Friday, a one-day record, and the Central Texas toll increased by five to almost 60.

The owner of Hewett-Arney Funeral Home in Temple said he has been contacted by the VA Medical Center and Baylor Scott & White hospitals about how much refrigeration space he has in which to store bodies.

"We do have the means to store quite a few folks here," said David Alexander.

"It's one of those times that we do the best we can and we just have to cross that bridge when we get to it."

Alexander said he has also had to modify the way he handles bodies.

He uses extra sanitation practices to ensure he and his staff don't contract the virus from a corpse.

Because of statewide restrictions on large gatherings, funeral homes have also had to limit the number of guests attending funerals.

Currently funeral homes are exempt from the 10-person limit ordered by Gov. Gregg Abbott because they are considered to be performing religious ceremonies.

At his funeral home, Alexander has embraced technology to help families mourn.

He provides a live stream of viewings and funerals for those who can’t attend.

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