Funeral Director, Andrew Sorrentino of a family owned business in Brooklyn, revealed, that family members of eight Caribbean nationals, who succumbed to the Coronavirus COVID-19 recently, have sought to have their loved ones buried or cremated, while some have requested, bodies returned to their country of birth.
During an exclusive interview with Caribbean Life, Sorrentino, who have laid nationals to rest during his engagement in the community for the past 25 years, expressed condolences to family members who have lost loved ones to the deadly disease. Among the thousands are persons from Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti and Panama, his funeral home will inter.
He said bodies cannot be shipped back to the homeland now, due to the closure of airports, and further explained, that in order for Caribbean burials, funeral homes must acquire a non-communicative disease document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and since persons would have passed away during the pandemic, this would not be possible, since countries would not accept such bodies.
As such, families are forced to bury loved ones in the U.S. while others are opting for cremation, and ashes returned to the Caribbean for burial, at a later time.
Sorrentino, who has provided services beyond the funeral home by providing in-home consultation, will continue to do so, despite the contagious virus outbreak that requires taking precautionary measures.
He adheres to all directives to protect himself, noting in recent times, when called to the morgue to pick up two bodies, the number would be higher at this time, due to COVID 19.
Along with another funeral director, they transport bodies from hospitals, and have gone to homes, as the situation worsens. He explained that because persons with mild symptoms, are being turned away, many have died in their homes.
The disease cannot be transmitted to a living person since dead bodies are embalmed. However, some funeral homes are cautioning families to not attend funerals in large numbers, and to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
Some funeral homes are limiting the number to twenty family members, while others allow 50, who can attend going home service at funeral homes, churches, and gravesites, to practice social distancing put in place by New York authorities.
Some funeral homes are outright refusing to allow family members at crematorium but instead offer to deliver ashes after a body cremation. Wearing protective gloves and mask, must also be adhered to at the funeral homes that offer viewing.
Sorrentino, who says he is properly attired at all time, in mask, gloves and added clothing to deal with the mass deaths, call on everyone to stay in doors, or if persons must leave their homes, take every precautionary measure, by wearing wear gloves and mask.
Event though sanitizing of hands is highly advised, washing thoroughly, after returning home is the best way to safeguard against spreading the virus.
The undertaker who says he works 24 hours, 7 days a week, assures families that making their experience comfortable is what he prides himself on, and offers to transact business at their home or church, which would be more relaxing for them.
Andrew Sorrentino could be reached, at 718-951-9650, or 917-921-6758. Visit www.cdc.gov for more information.