Bodies stacked to the ceiling as COVID-19 surge creates backlog at Florida funeral homes, crematories

Coronavirus

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. (WESH) — At West Side Crematory in Winter Garden, they’re overwhelmed with the remains of people that need to be cremated.

There’s an influx of bodies like they’ve never seen, worse than the first wave of COVID-19. The area where bodies are stored prior to being cremated is stacked to the ceiling. The staff is working day and night to honor the dead.

WESH 2 called 20 funeral homes and crematories and many were too busy to be part of our story. Some were too busy to even talk on the phone. One funeral director said that in a 30-minute period where he talked to his partner, four new cases came in.

Mike Marchetti, the area manager for Newcomer Funeral Homes, says as much as they don’t want to, sometimes they have to delay meetings with families and delay funerals because they only have so much staff.

“So the family comes in and they say we would like to have the funeral on Friday and we have to tell then ‘I’m sorry we can’t accommodate a funeral on Friday because our schedule is full,” Marchetti said.

A death care industry struggling to meet demands at a level they’ve never seen before, and families struggling to cope with grief at a level a community has ever seen before.

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