Q&A ~ Do Novel Corona (COVID-19) Decedents have to be Cremated?

We have been receiving several phone calls and emails, as well as reading a number of comments on social media posts wondering if individuals who pass away as a result of the novel corona (COVID-19) virus infection must be cremated.

The answer is NO.

The choice of disposition is decided by the legal next of kin. Both burial and cremation, with a final disposition of cremated remains, are acceptable.

For further clarification, the following is number three in the Recommended Guidance for Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Funeral Homes from the office of Governor JB Pritzker, State of Illinois.

III. Preventative Actions for Funeral Homes Directors

According to the CDC, there is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of COVID-19. A funeral or visitation service can be held for a person who has died of COVID-19 with certain restrictions. Persons who have COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should be restricted from attending the funeral service or visitation to prevent its spread to others who are attending.Try to provide ways for family members or close friends to join the service remotely through use of available technology or offer to record the funeral service for later viewing.

Consistent with the recommendations from the Illinois Funeral Directors Association (IFDA) Board of Directors, Funeral Home Directors should follow the CDC guidelines on gatherings, including those directly related to any funerals, visitations, or graveside services.All gatherings of ten (10) or more should be canceled, and/or only conducted with a limit of ten (10) or less people. Viewings should only be permissive with ten (10) or less people.Graveside services should be private and conducted with ten (10) or less people. This information is subject to change per recommendations by the Federal Government and CDC.

Decedents with COVID-19 can be buried or cremated but check for any additional state or local requirements that may dictate the handling and disposition of the remains of individuals who have died of certain infectious diseases.

Should you have any questions, please contact us at (773) 767.2166 or (708) 839.8999.

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