Less than a week ago Texas marked a record number of daily coronavirus cases with 14,916 cases on July 17, 2020. In total, there have been over 356,000 confirmed cases and over 4,350 deaths.
Recently, Green Cremation Texas’ funeral director Melissa Unfred shared her industry insights with KXAN in light of the surging COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had a major impact on the funeral industry from the safety of the people who work at funeral homes to how families mourn the loss of a loved one.
Through it all, we have continuously strived to not only provide the same high quality of service and cremation options that are better for the environment but to also prepare for the rough road ahead.
Ready With Resources to Handle the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the first and only carbon-neutral funeral home in the state, at Green Cremation Texas, we have always put emphasis on efficiency in order to lower the environmental impact of our services. But we also make efficiency a priority for the families we serve. We do everything in our power to make the cremation process as quick and stress-free as possible.
This efficiency has proven vital during the pandemic. While other funeral homes have struggled to meet demands, Green Cremation Texas has been able to increase the number of cremations we handle each month without depleting our resources. And we’ve done so even though 10-25% of the cremations we currently perform are for people who were COVID-19 positive.
While the pandemic has changed the way we operate to a certain degree, we’ve practiced many of the recommended safety protocols for years. This has helped Green Cremation Texas ensure we have enough personal protective equipment to safely provide our green end of life services.
As cases and deaths surge, our team has tried to stay one step ahead. One major investment has been additional coolers, some of which are used during transport. Increasing our refrigerated storage by 300% has allowed us to serve a growing number of families without delays on our end.
Unfortunately, refrigeration capacity has quickly become an issue in Texas this summer. And now, as some funeral homes in hard-hit regions are pushed past their capacity, we’re prepared to provide support if needed. The Texas Funeral Service Commission recently asked funeral homes to share their resources to help the state manage the COVID-10 crisis. Green Cremation Texas is stepping up to lend any resources we can, including refrigeration space.
Minimizing COVID-19 Delays
One change that has been unavoidable is needing more time to complete the cremation process. As we have experienced in other facets of life, the pandemic has created delays and additional measures that must be taken. Compounding the problem are overwhelmed hospitals with overworked medical staff.
One of the most notable changes has been the time it takes to get a signed death certificate. This one factor has a ripple effect that can hold up the cremation process by 3-5 days. Safely handling those who were COVID-10 positive is also causing delays at crematoriums.
While we can’t control all of the factors that prolong the process, we have taken measures to limit delays. Families can now arrange services online so there is no concern over social distancing, and we can begin arranging transport immediately. Rather than making multiple trips to and from the crematorium, we take numerous individuals at once for their individual cremation appointments to minimize the time it takes as well as the eco-footprint of our cremation services.
Families should be aware that if a deceased loved one tested positive for COVID-19 there are limited times when the crematorium can be used for safety purposes. Medical researchers are still unsure how easily the virus can be transmitted after death, so we have to err on the side of caution.
Throughout it all, Green Cremation Texas will stay in constant contact with the family so that they are aware of the time needed to complete the process. We understand that uncertainty can be especially trying during such an emotional time. In light of that, our clients have always had the ability to text us any time of day in addition to being able to call for information.
Prepared to Serve the Entire State
The COVID-19 pandemic is a widespread emergency that can be felt everywhere. Even small, off-the-beaten-path communities have been impacted. Green Cremation Texas is prepared to serve any family in the state that wants to use an eco-friendly end of life service.
We have expanded to three physical locations across Central Texas, but our service area extends much farther. We’re able to arrange transport anywhere in the state so your location is not a limitation.
If you would like to learn more about our clean cremation processes, what makes our services greener than other alternatives, or what will happen if a loved one was diagnosed with COVID-19 we’re here to help. You can call, text or email us 24 hours a day for an immediate response.