Funeral homes and crematories see an increase in COVID-19 deaths

Coronavirus

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Funeral homes and crematories in the Myrtle Beach area are seeing an influx in bodies coming in due to the latest spike of COVID-19.

The McMillan-Small Funeral Home and Crematory in Myrtle Beach said it’s seeing more COVID-19 deaths coming in now, compared to past surges. The crematory also said it’s noticing a younger crowd.

“It puts a stress not only on us, but the families we serve,” said Robert Borning, funeral director and embalmer at McMillan-Small Funeral Home and Crematory.

Borning said when COVID-19 cases started to rise and hospitals began to fill up again, it was like a snowball effect when it came to the funeral home.

“There’s probably three to four a week at least, sometimes two to three a day,” he said.

He said when they first noticed a sudden spike, they wanted to be prepared.

“We’ve had to purchase extra specific Tyvek clothing and respirators for those of us who embalm just to make sure that we’re safe,” Borning said.

From March through July, the funeral home was seeing one to three COVID-19 deaths each month. This month, they’re already at nine. Borning said he’d like to see more precautions moving forward.

“I would really like to see the city of Myrtle Beach go forward with a mask mandate,” he said. “I really think it’s a safer option for everyone.”

And while he said they’re still having full funeral services, many families are taking matters into their own hands.

“In the past couple weeks we’ve had more than one family who have actually put in the obituary on the website, please wear a mask or don’t come,” Borning said.

News13 reached out to several other funeral homes and crematories in the area for an interview, however each response was the same — too busy to talk and some even were in the middle of services. 

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