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Funeral homes see an increase in business after Pulaski County case surge

Published: Dec. 18, 2020 at 4:28 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 18, 2020 at 4:44 PM EST
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PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Somerset is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, and more cases will mean more deaths.

Somerset Mayor Alan Keck says this is a reminder that the pandemic is not over yet, “I think it’s a reminder we are still right in the middle of a pandemic. It’s a marathon and not a sprint.”

Large increases were seen during the month of November.

“50, 70, even yesterday 138 cases in the county since the 18th of November,” said Stuart Spillman from the Lake Cumberland District Health Department.

In fact, there have been several days this week with more than 100 cases a day. With testing leading to increased hospital stays, and sometimes a very sad ending.

Richard New from Southern Oaks Funeral Home has had a very busy year, “We normally serve 300 - 340 families, this year we’re almost to 400.”

New says they weren’t seeing as many funerals from COVID deaths until about two months ago. He said he has had about 20 since then.

It’s an extremely difficult time because you have people experiencing loss and an abnormal way of dealing with that.

“I see some families that want to see us enforce no physical contact. Want to see everyone is wearing a mask, which we try to do,” said New.

He also says some don’t take it as seriously as they should. “They come in without the mask on, we have to enforce please wear the mask. If we find out they were exposed we have to tell them they can’t come in. Do you want to delay the funeral services?”

According to New, it can be very awkward when the health department advises quarantines right when a family’s funeral is about to start.

The funeral director also mentioned that the virus can still live once the person is dead. Therefore, they have to take extra precautions when preparing a body for a burial service.

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