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Funeral Homes are Overwhelmed Amid Coronavirus Death Surge in Ohio

Wooden casket with white lilies in funeral home
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The deaths of more than 2,000 people in the state have been attributed to the coronavirus over the past 30 days, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

As coronavirus continues to surge throughout Ohio, funeral homes across the state are seeing a higher demand for their services.

Eric Anthony is a fourth-generation funeral director at Anthony Funeral Homes in Akron. He said the demand for his family’s services has ebbed and flowed throughout the pandemic, but recently it has picked back up again.

“Right in March, we saw a little surge right away for a few weeks. And then after that it went to the point where we weren’t really doing any COVID cases, to—I would say six weeks ago—to where it was getting to the point where we were doing, two to three cases a week,” Anthony said.

He said his funeral home is one of many across the state facing an increased workload amid the most recent surge in deaths. The Ohio Department of Health has reported more than 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 30 days alone.

The Ohio Funeral Directors Association recently surveyed its members and found that 78% of morgues are over half-occupied, while 68% of crematories said they were nearing capacity.

Connor Steffen is a junior at Kent State studying journalism. Connor is a member of TV2 News, Kent State's student-run television station, where he serves as the executive producer for all news operations. He also anchors, reports and produces for the station. After graduation, Connor hopes to work as a reporter at a local news station.