Grenada announces new measures for burial of COVID-19 victims
St Georges – Grenada Monday announced new measures regarding the burial of persons who have succumbed to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as the island deals with an “unprecedented” number of daily deaths from the pandemic since August.
In a joint statement read out during a news conference, the authorities acknowledged that in 2020 anticipating a potential health crisis from the pandemic, religious leaders and funeral directors met and came up with a number of guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus “which are still in effect and enshrined in government’s protocols.
“Since August 2021 the rate of infection has increased exponentially and community spread is so pervasive that no community in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique has been left unscathed. The daily deaths from this pandemic is unprecedented in our country,” said the joint statement that was signed by representatives of the Grenada government, funeral directors and religious leaders.
Up until mid-August the island had recorded only one death from the pandemic and the statement noted as a result of the deaths “our funereal homes are inundated with bodies needing to be prepared for burial”.
The statement said that “because of the increasing number of deaths daily” and the need to “compassionately and respectfully discharge our responsibility to those who have died and their families”, the representatives of the government, the three funeral homes, the religious community, including the Grenada Islamic Foundation met last week and adopted new measures for burials.
It said that the measures would come into effect from Wednesday and that all burials from deaths due to the pandemic will be done within 72 hours from the time of the certification of the death.
“Persons dying from the COVID infection will not be embalmed (and) up to two persons will be allowed to view the body at the funeral home for identification purposes only. After the body is identified, the coffin or casket will be permanently sealed”.
The statement said that while families will have the option to cremate or bury their loved ones “accommodations will be made for bodies requiring special rights in preparation for burial”
The authorities said that funerals will only take place between 9.00 am to noon (local time) extending by two hours only with police permission “when there are more bodies to be buried on a given day that can be realistically be done within these hours”.
The statement said that funerals will take place only at the cemetery.
The religious officials as well as the health authorities including Dr. Tyhiesia Donald, the acting director of Medical Services, appealed to Grenadians to get vaccinated so as to curb the spread of the virus.
They said that the vaccine is the only known scientific method that can prevent patients getting seriously ill and dying from the pandemic that has so far killed 50 people and infected 3. 841 others since March last year.
“From where we sit we have seen that vaccination really does help prevent severe illness and we want to encourage everyone of us…the whole population, let’s all work together…get vaccinated and let’s try and ensure that even if we develop the diseases it is not severe,” she said.