El Paso funeral homes brace for surge of Covid-related deaths as cases continue rising


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)–After El Paso recorded a week of record-shattering COVID-19 cases in the Borderland, local funeral homes said they were preparing for a possible surge of covid-related deaths.

Sunset Funeral Homes and Perches Funeral Homes said they expect a rise in deaths and are already seeing some. Christopher Lujan, a manager at Sunset Funeral Homes, said one in three deaths they service are covid-related.

To help with the influx of bodies, Sunset Funeral homes said they’ve added three walk-in refrigeration units as well as a mobile unit.

Sunset said their refrigeration units are about halfway full.

Although the City of El Paso reported no new deaths on Monday, the funeral homes said there is about a weeks delay between when deaths are reported and when families seek services for a covid-related death.

With the record-breaking surge of positive cases, Lujan tells KTSM they are expecting deaths to climb in two to three weeks.

“We notice a spike every time there is a holiday so you know we ask everybody to go ahead and wear some type of protective face covering,” Lujan said. “You’re protecting other people in the community to go ahead and decrease the deaths that are going on here in El Paso.”

Sunset said its served between 150 and 200 covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Jorge Ortiz, the general manager of Perches said the city has shown a constant pattern of an increase of deaths every time there is a significant spike in positive cases and hospitalizations.

“We’ve seen an increment back then and I think its going to be the same and if not more now that the winter is coming and the flu, I believe it’s going to be a higher volume of cases,” Ortiz said.

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