Baton Rouge funeral homes see increase in service amid COVID surge

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) Harold Scott is preparing a casket for a COVID service at Wilson Wooddale Funeral Home in Baton Rouge.

Since March of last year, the funeral director and his staff have seen more deaths. The recent COVID surge has increased the numbers. Some funeral homes report a 10 percent increase or higher over the past couple of months.

Scott said, “It’s very very unfortunate. Families are losing loved ones very unexpectedly. We should really be cautious and think safety at all times and not take anything for granted.”

An already trying job grew more stressful because of the pandemic. Scott has to explain to grieving families why they can’t mourn in person.

What was the response from families? “Hurtful, regretful. How would you not come say goodbye, when you normally would say goodbye,” said Scott.

Noah Johnson lost his mother earlier this year to COVID-19. His family chose a graveside service due to restrictions.

“Our family wore our masks, stayed our distance, or if nothing more than standing by their cars or just spread out in the area where we were,” said Johnson.

Johnson and Scott urge families to follow COVID-19 mandates and get vaccinated to avoid burying a loved one too soon.

“COVID is still active. It’s still going. Our hospitals can’t handle what’s currently happening to us,” said Johnson.

Scott said, “I would rather walk with a limp. I’d rather be injured, affected but alive, rather than to not have that vaccine and be dead.”

Funeral homes are also reporting an increase in families choosing cremations.

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