With over 5.2 million confirmed cases and with over 335,000 deaths, the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the world’s worst global health crises in recent history. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of things we don’t know even after months since it started.
In a report by WACH FOX News, the National Association of Medical Examiners issued a statement suggesting the possibility of a dead coronavirus patient transmitting the disease to a healthy person.
According to the release, they initially thought that the transmission of the virus after the patient died is minimal, but since experts believe SARS-CoV-2, or the novel coronavirus, can live on surfaces for far longer, they don’t want to rule out the possibility no matter how low the risk is.
Reaching out to the Department of Health and Environment Control (DHEC), the news outlet asked for further comments about the likelihood of a healthy person getting sick after touching a deceased COVID-19 patient’s body.
DHEC also explained CDC’s current guidelines about the coronavirus pandemic.
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The department emphasized that people should avoid touching any recently deceased body if they have died from the viral infection until the body is ready for viewing.
“Though we are still learning more about how COVID-19 spreads, it may be possible that you could get COVID-19 by touching the body of someone who has died of COVID-19,” DHEC declared.
“After the body has been prepared for viewing there may be less of a chance of the virus spreading from certain types of touching, such as holding the hand or hugging.”
In addition, they reminded people to do the precautionary measures against catching the virus, including washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as well as using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
DHEC also reminded people to avoid activities like kissing, shrouding, and washing the body before and during preparation.
With this information, people who are working at funeral homes are among the people who are at high risk of getting infected with COVID-19 from a deceased patient.
That is why funeral homes have decided to implement stricter guidelines to fight the pandemic.
Among their precautionary measures are limiting the number of people who could attend the viewing and mandating the wearing of masks for its duration.
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For people handling the bodies, the news outlet reached out to the employees of a funeral home in South Carolina, Myers Mortuary & Cremation Service.
According to their employees, they always don full protective gear when they are handling bodies, especially of those who died from the coronavirus disease.
In addition, the funeral home has also opted for creativity to make funerals intimate despite social distancing and stay-at-home orders, including using streaming the funeral through platforms like Facebook.
They also ask their clients to follow the funeral director’s directions as much as possible to avoid touching and crowding.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that it is incredibly difficult for people to pay tribute to their loved ones in these trying times.