Please be advised that the Coronavirus epidemic has caused us to modify our policy for accepting autopsies.
These measures are temporarily in place in order to combat the pandemic. We will let you know when our normal policy will be reinstated.
Effective immediately please DO NOT transport or store a body in the morgue UNTIL APPROVAL IS OBTAINED from a Forensic Medical Representative. For all autopsies please ask the following questions
COVID-19 Screening Questions
Please answer the following:
- Has the decedent or their immediate family members traveled to any of these locations in the last 14 days?
- South Korea
- Has the decedent had contact with anyone with confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
- Has the decedent had any of these symptoms in the last 14 days?
- Fever greater than 100 degrees Farenheit.
- Difficulty breathing
IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING SCREENING QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED “YES” PLEASE DO NOT SEND THE DECEDENT FOR AN AUTOPSY.
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT FOR FURTHER GUIDNACE regarding sample collection. Forensic Medical DOES NOT HAVE THE ABILTY TO TEST FOR COVID-19.
In this evolving global pandemic, there are many things WE DO NOT KNOW about COVID-19. It is better for all of us to err on the side of caution. We are asking that you contact us first so that we may provide guidance about the transport to our facilities regarding any possible autopsies. We hope this procedure decreases the need for extended transport thus minimizing any potential exposure. This will ensure a higher degree of safety for all involved.
LINKS OF INFORMATION:
See COVID-19 and funerals
Below is information that is available on the CDC website last accessed March 19, 2020.
Funeral or visitation service can be held for a person who has died of COVID-19. Funeral home workers should follow their routine infection prevention and control precautions when handling a decedent who died of COVID-19. If it is necessary to transfer a body to a bag, follow Standard Precautions, including additional personal protective equipment (PPE) if splashing of fluids is expected. For transporting a body after the body has been bagged, disinfect the outside of the bag with a product with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.). Wear disposable nitrile gloves when handling the body bag.
Embalming can be conducted. During embalming, follow Standard Precautions including the use of additional PPE if splashing is expected (e.g. disposable gown, faceshield or goggles and facemask). Wear appropriate respiratory protection if any procedures will generate aerosols or if required for chemicals used in accordance with the manufacturer’s label. Wear heavy-duty gloves over nitrile disposable gloves if there is a risk of cuts, puncture wounds, or other injuries that break the skin. Additional information on how to safely conduct aerosol-generating procedures is in the CDC’s Postmortem Guidance. Cleaning should be conducted in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
After cleaning and removal of PPE, perform hand hygiene by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water is not available. Soap and water should be used if the hands are visibly soiled.
Decedents with COVID-19 can be buried or cremated, but check for any additional state and local requirements that may dictate the handling and disposition of the remains of individuals who have died of certain infectious diseases.