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COVID-19 Information

Brown-Forward Funeral Home cares deeply for the health and safety of the community, and will remain open and fully operational during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. We’re getting lots of questions and concerns from the public and our families in regard to the current virus situation. The reason that we, as funeral directors, are licensed and regulated is for exactly this reason. We are well-trained and well-informed in epidemiology and infection control and are employing every precaution necessary for the protection of public health as we receive daily updates from the National Funeral Directors Association and other organizations we belong to who are in direct communication with the C.D.C., the W.H.O, O.S.H.A. and the Department of Labor and other regulatory agencies.

We are including some of the FAQs we’re getting here, but feel free to call our licensed funeral directors with any other concerns or questions by phone (216-752-1200), email (info@brown-forward.com) or by submitting a contact form through our website (https://www.brown-forward.com/contact-us).     

Is it safe to have or attend funerals, visitations or other services?

If you are elderly or have compromised health or immunity, you have been advised to avoid social contact and it would be wise to follow the guidelines that are already well known. If you are otherwise healthy you should employ proper hand-washing, avoid cross-contamination (handling items that may be contaminated—money, pens, magazines, doorknobs, etc.) and keeping a reasonable distance from others in social situation (i.e. avoid hugging, kissing, handshaking). These are good practices during every normal flu season and we encourage prudence and good judgment.

Our funeral home is thoroughly cleaned after every single visitation year round (which sometimes means they are cleaned multiple times in a day). This includes our chapel, social areas, workplace and bathrooms. We have multiple gallon bottles of hand sanitizer as always, with an adequate amount of inventory. We have ramped up our protocols as of last week by using hospital grade disinfectants even in the chapel, cleaning chairs after every service, Ozone air purification running in the buildings, and aerosol disinfectants available. We have removed magazines and candy dishes (ask if you want candy) and instituted signage reminding guests to avoid physical contact. Register book stands and pens are being wiped continually (and we encourage you to use your own pen when signing any document in a public place). Our staff is also happy to sign the book for you. We believe you will be safer in our building, or the other venues that facilitate funeral services, than in most other public facilities for the duration of the crisis..

What options do we have if a death has occurred?

If a family is apprehensive about an open public event, there are options. A service tailored to the family’s situation and desires is always what we strive to provide.    

   - We can now webcast or record an event anywhere so that anyone with a password can watch at home via computer. 

   - Services can be delayed until such time as the crisis subsides. We can follow the Victorian tradition of funerals by invitation only.  

    - If the surviving family is in quarantine, out of town or if they feel more comfortable from home, arrangements can be made via telephone, email or video conferencing             and can normally be delayed for a reasonable period.  

We are ready, willing and able to handle whatever deathcare needs arise in our community.

Must we have an immediate disposition?

There is no reason not to have an open casket or viewing, EVEN IF the person died of the virus. Victims may be buried or cremated—there is no legal or practical necessity for unusual disposition practices as are being reported overseas. With some serious diseases, this has and could occur. Over the years, our firm, our staff and funeral service have dealt with many diseases that threatened public health. Several of them have been far more concerning from a mortality standpoint than the current pandemic. Annual flu deaths in the U.S. are significant each year. . 

Our protocols and staff are designed to deal with contagious diseases. Our ventilation systems are designed to separate the care center air from the rest of the buildings. Proper embalming is designed to make the body safe for public viewing. Grieving, mourning, honoring the body and saying good-bye to a loved one are important and necessary. Death is rarely convenient and the current situation, while requiring flexibility, should not prevent families from meeting their immediate needs in this regard.    

“There is no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation with the embalmed body of someone who died of COVID-19 as the virus spreads when the infected person exhales or sneezes infected droplets” (C.D.C.statement of 3/16). However, because we are still learning about the spread of this disease, we do advise families not to touch, kiss or handle the remains if COVID-19 is suspected

Can we view the body if it is not embalmed? 

We typically allow and encourage direct cremation families to have an unembalmed viewing or I.D. prior to cremation for the immediate family members. Due to the current situation, we are suspending this practice temporarily for the protection of family members, other visitors to the facilities and our staff members. All viewing must be preceded by embalming and disinfection until the COVID-19 situation abates. Embalming is only performed with permission of the next-of-kin.

Resources for more COVID-19 information:

- https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

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