Covid-19 bodies piling up

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THE bodies of the dead are piling up.
Owners of mortuaries say they’re seeing a huge increase in corpses coming into their facilities due to Covid-19.

While some mortuaries have increased storage capacity, others are struggling to deal with the situation.

Martin Brits of the Mosaic Funeral Group in Germiston, Ekurhuleni, described the situation as crazy.

“I’ve increased my storage capacity but it’s still not enough. I’m over full capacity and people continue to die,” he said.

“I have four family members who died days apart due to Covid-19. I urge people to stay safe and follow the safety regulations.”

Collinge Funeral Directors’ Nina Collinge said the company used to handle 30 bodies a day, but the number had increased to 70.

“We work seven days a week and knock off at night. We’re overworked and exhausted. We feel like robots.

“I’ve increased my storage facility and now have three fridges, each storing 16 bodies. But it’s still not enough. I’ve been in this industry for 30 years and things have never been this bad,” she said.

According to Funeral Industry Reformed Association spokesman Johan Rousseau, some private mortuaries were forced to pay state parlours to store bodies.

“There are no measures in place to help our industry. We hear about hospitals and Home Affairs, but nothing is being said about us.”

Rousseau said they had been trying to engage government on the matter for more than 10 years now.

He said they requested that more facilities be built to store bodies at times like these.

“What makes matters worse is that people are not working and can’t afford to bury their loved ones. The bodies are left in the mortuary for a long time,” he said.

Rousseau said Gauteng and the Western Cape were the worst affected.

“Some funeral parlours are conducting over 50 burials in one week. Bodies are piling up. Some are not equipped to deal with this. We have had cases where staff members became infected as they didn’t have PPE and ventilators.”

On Tuesday, 8 105 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised in the public sector in Gauteng and 5 400 to private facilities.

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