Funeral homes highlight mistakes made during first COVID-19 wave

Local News

EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) — Funeral homes were overwhelmed during the first wave of the pandemic. With cases rising across the state, there’s a fear of a second wave in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). 

Funeral homes are adapting and learning from their mistakes.

“One thing that we learned was to learn to adapt to find ways so that the family can have some sort of closure,” said Johnny Garcia, manager at the Ceballos-Diaz Funeral Home.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought a lot of learning experiences to Garcia, which he said brought him to the realization that they need to work on their scheduling for grieving families.

“The visitation was very short and very quick and you know I’ve learned myself personally over this time that we can prepare the loved one and we can do embalming procedures,” said Garcia.

Not having enough personal protective equipment (PPE) was another issue Garcia was dealing with. He said they are now stocked up on PPE and cremation containers. 

“There were several supplies that we ran short of because we weren’t prepared for that kind of a pandemic and I don’t think anyone was, so we’ve pretty much overstocked now,” said Garcia.

Aside from those measures, Garcia and the funeral home are taking one step further to prepare in case a second wave hits the RGV.

“In our case personally we actually added refrigeration to the funeral home where we have never had refrigeration here before,” said Garcia.

Refrigeration was at capacity at hospitals and funeral homes, Garcia said they don’t want to repeat the same mistakes made the first time around.

“It’s easier for us to keep direct identification with the loved ones if we maintain possession of their loved ones at all times,” he said.

Garcia is hopeful they’ve learned from the first wave and better prepared for another. 

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