How Long After a Death From Covid Does a Funeral Take Place?
At Newrest Funerals, we can help you to arrange the funeral of a recently departed loved one no matter what the cause of death may have been. With restrictions relating to the Covid-19 pandemic almost completely eased in the UK – some mask-wearing requirements are still in place in certain medical settings, for example – the good news is that there is no need to delay a funeral for someone who died from contracting this particular virus. Most happen within two weeks of the death nowadays.
Equally, there are no longer any restrictions on the number of people who may attend a funeral any more beyond the maximum capacity the funeral home or crematorium concerned. However, there are some rules that relate to Covid and funerals that are still worth bearing in mind. What are they? Read on to find out.
Firstly, funerals can be delayed for a number of reasons by the authorities. If the police think that they may need recourse to the body of the deceased for further investigation, then it may not be released to you even if the recorded cause of death was Covid. Equally, coroner’s offices may want a full post-mortem to be carried out if there were other medical factors that need to be looked into more closely given the way the person in question died. Importantly, such matters do not just affect Covid patients but all people for whom the exact cause of death isn’t yet fully established.
Furthermore, there are certain rules that must be followed by all medical professionals and mortuary technicians who may come into contact with deceased people who have died from Covid. According to UK-wide advice issued by the Health and Safety Executive, people handling the bodies of former Covid patients must assume ‘there is likely to be a continuing risk of infection [of the disease]… from body fluids and tissues’. Importantly, the HSE’s advice says this is the case whether Covid has been confirmed or is merely suspected.
What does this mean in practical terms, though? In reality, this means that funeral directors handling the bodies of people who had contracted Covid will need to take additional precautions with, for example, the enhanced use of personal protective equipment or PPE. In turn, this may mean that preparing the body for the funeral may take a little longer than would usually be the case. Despite the precautions that the HSE lays out, it also states that the bodies of former Covid patients should still be treated with the same level of ‘sensitivity, dignity and respect’ as non-Covid cases.
Sometimes, it might be that funerals cannot be held as quickly as you would like due to these guidelines. However, most funeral directors in the UK are now used to them and any delays are likely to be negligible from the standpoint of 2022. If a further wave of infections arises, however, then this may change. Note that since public healthcare policy is a devolved matter, any changes to the rules in hospital mortuarys and so on would not necessarily be the same in England as they might be in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, something that could lead to regional differences.