BINGHAMTON, NY – Local funeral homes are taking added precautions as they respond to the pandemic.
The President of the Broome County Funeral Directors Association, Joseph Fritsch, tells NewsChannel 34 that his group has been working closely with the local Coroners Association to establish guidelines for handling the remains of COVID-19 victims.
Fritsch says funeral home workers have routinely taken safety precautions to protect themselves dating back to the emergence of the AIDS crisis, using masks, gloves and face shields when working with bodies.
One new step is to transition to the more protective N-95 masks that are currently in great demand.
He says the directors are pooling together to order masks as the companies that produce them are now requiring much larger minimum orders.
Fritsch says it’s up to each individual funeral home to determine whether it feels comfortable embalming bodies and how to handle calling hours and funeral services.
He says the directors are in regular contact with each other and receiving daily updates from the state association, but there are still many unknowns about the risks posed to them.