East Texas funeral home seeing rise in COVID-19 deaths

Coronavirus

TYLER, Texas (KETK)- The new surge in COVID-19 cases has put a strain on East Texas funeral homes.

Community Funeral Home of Tyler is only one of the many businesses seeing a demand for their services.

The funeral home’s president, Leroy Francis Sr., said about half of their funerals right now are related to COVID-19.

“In the last month, we have been running about six or seven services a week,” he mentioned.

Francis added, families go to their location, and they are still trying to process a death that was sudden and caused by the virus.

“They’re shocked to an extent. They realize that it’s out there… they’re just devastated at the loss of their loved one because of it,” he said.

Community Funeral Home of Tyler has noticed that older people have passed away from the virus, but younger people in their 30s and 40s are also dying.

“There’s a lot of them that didn’t take the shot. I think this is where it’s coming from,” said Ricky Radway, the funeral home’s office manager.

Not only has there been a rise in funerals, there has also been a change in how funeral services are done.

For example, at Community Funeral Home of Tyler, there’s a strict mask requirement and a limited capacity on funeral guests.

“A majority of the families do understand, you know. We’re going to do whatever we have to do to keep ourselves safe as well as them,” said Radway.

The first wave of COVID-19 was difficult for the funeral home. During this time, they saw more funerals per week than what they are experiencing currently.

“You can’t help but to think everyday you know, (it) could be me, could be my family,” said Radway.

They are fearing that the number of deaths is on the rise again.

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