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COVID-19 rules complicate planning a funeral for a loved one

When Henry Eversole passed away Sunday, his sister, Nancy, thought that be the worst of her heartbreak.

HOUSTON — With the governor’s rule of no more than 10 people at a gathering, events and weddings are being canceled all over the state.

But one event that’s not so easy to postpone is a funeral.

When Henry Eversole passed away Sunday, his sister, Nancy, thought that be the worst of her heartbreak.

“He was their dad. He was my brother, and my mother, who’s 95, has lost her son," Nancy Moncrief said. "I wouldn’t even be able to attend my brother's funeral.”

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Under new guidelines, the state is advising against gatherings over 10 people. With more than that in her immediate family, Nancy wouldn’t get the chance to say goodbye to her only brother.

“This has just compounded the grief that we’ve had to deal with," Moncrief said.

It’s the same situation for any family burying a loved one during this time.

“We’ve never experienced what’s going on right now before," said Tripp Carter, co-founder of Bradshaw-Carter Memorial and Funeral Services Tripp Carter said.

Carter said the regulations are drastically changing how they do funerals.

“Situations like, they can’t have a religious ceremony in a church. They can’t gather at the funeral home as a family together," Carter said.

He said families have one of four options: keep the memorial and burial gathering to 10 people, have the service livestreamed so loved ones can watch from home or do the visitation in intervals with cleaning in between.

“A group of 10 could come maybe at 2:00, stay here as long as they’d like, have their chance to say their goodbyes, and then a second group could be scheduled at 4:00," Carter said.

The last option is to postpone. 

With Eversole being cremated, that’s what Moncrief and her family have decided to do.

“It keeps us from having that closure that you want when you lose someone," Moncrief said.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

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