Funeral homes are seeing business increases as Covid-19 surges in Elkhart County

NOW: Funeral homes are seeing business increases as Covid-19 surges in Elkhart County

ELKHART, Ind. --- Elkhart County funeral homes are feeling the weight of Covid-19. Many are seeing huge increases in calls, as deaths continue to mount due to the coronavirus. A situation that is leaving families grieving longer, and is pushing funeral homes to the brink. 

"I miss seeing my family whenever I get the chance to, but I know because I'm on the front lines I'm doing everything in my power to protect them," said Funeral Director at Billings Funeral Home Dorinda Brito. 

November, in Elkhart County, has seen the most Covid-19 deaths, and funeral homes like Billings and Hartzler, Gutermuth, and Inman are seeing this increase directly. 

"We've seen honestly a good 2/3 of the people that we've served, and families we've served have had loved ones diagnosed with Covid-19 and have passed away from it," said Brito.

The funeral director at Hartzler, Gutermuth, and Inman Kevin Wirt mentioned, "Our volume of calls has increased probably, I would guess maybe, 15-10% because of Covid right now."

It is a frightening situation in the county that Brito believes will not slow down as calls just keep increasing. 

"This month alone we've had over 50 calls," said Brito. 

Despite the increase, funeral homes are facing unique challenges related to Covid-19. New restrictions have placed a capacity limit on funeral attendees and social distancing requirements are in-effect.

This has prevented families from mourning properly for loved ones and has taxed the funeral home staff that has to see this sad occurrence daily. 

"When they are able to do what they can now, to when they do something that they want to do, they heal in that time period. Then when they come back for the memorial service it is like tearing a band-aid off their back to grieving once again. That's tough seeing them heal, then take a step back," said Wirt. 

The new restrictions will limit funerals moving forward, but both homes agreed, as the situation stands now they do not expect their phones to stop ringing any less moving forward.       


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