City of New Orleans offers guidelines for coroners, funeral homes and burials

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A funeral director and a Wycoff Heights Medical Center, employee transport a body, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans shared a set of guidelines to aid in the management, preparation and burial of the deceased residents due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has created a tragedy within a tragedy: Compromising the way our residents prepare their deceased love ones to be laid to rest, and share in their grief the way we’re accustomed to. And it won’t get any easier. That is why weeks ago I convened a Death Care Task Force to engage funeral home directors, coroners, cemetery directors, hospital officials, faith-based leaders and other stakeholders. They are working to ensure that this process is respectful but also mindful of the regulations we must follow to ensure safety for all involved in this somber process,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

[Read the guidelines at NOLA Ready here.]

“We’d like to thank Mayor Cantrell for her leadership in gathering all of the key stakeholders, not just in New Orleans but across the region so that we can work collaboratively to inform our residents on the best practices during this outbreak,” the Death Care Task Force said in a joint statement.

Louisiana will follow guidance provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when it comes to the safe handling of COVID-19-positive remains.

These recommendations give guidance on the safe handling of human remains that may contain coronavirus and are for use by personnel who perform postmortem care in Louisiana Region 1 hospitals.

In patients who die from COVID-19 virus, virus may be transmitted during postmortem care.

Only personnel trained in handling infected human remains and wearing appropriate PPE, should touch or move any COVID-19 infected remains.

Handling of the remains should be kept to a minimum.

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