LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Families are waiting over a week to lay their loved ones to rest as Lubbock funeral homes struggle with increased demand.
The funeral director at Grace Care and Cremation, Devontai Gaines, says they are performing more funeral services than ever.
“Our numbers when we first opened in February, we were doing ten to 12 families a month. Now we’re doing 24 to 25 families,” Gaines said. “I’ve had to schedule a funeral a week or two out, just because families come to us prior to and it puts a strain on staff and on families. They want to kind of hurry up, have those services and begin the mourning process.”
Gaines asks families to be patient because funeral homes in the area are all trying to keep up with this surge in demand.
“Be patient with the funeral homes. We are with you during this time. We understand your pain, your grief, your questions. We are trying the best we can, and all the funeral homes are doing a great job to serve the families in this county,” Gaines said.
As embalmers and funeral directors deal with more work, their exposure to COVID-19 also increases. They can be exposed when talking with family members or when handling bodies of people who died of the virus. Although it has not been proven that the virus spreads after death, embalmers are taking the necessary precautions.
“We make sure we wear gloves, masks, our proper PPE. Also, that we properly sanitize and clean the decedents accordingly and maybe we might go a little overboard with the sanitizing,” Gaines said.
Fortunately, embalmers and funeral home workers are eligible to receive the vaccine.
“We know that we are essential. Now the government and city officials are realizing that funeral homes are important, too. Giving us the vaccine, allowing us to make that decision and have that option is good,” Gaines said.