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AGEG News


Your Best Tool for Getting the Latest News from AGEG

This section is updated frequently with pertinent information from AGEG and regulatory agencies.  We encourage you to bookmark this page and visit it often.  


Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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Governor Kemp Issues Shelter in Place Order

APRIL 02, 2020 - Atlanta, GA 

Today Governor Brian P. Kemp issued a shelter in place order for the state of Georgia. The order will be effective beginning Friday, April 3rd, at 6:00 PM and expire Monday, April 13th, at 11:59 PM.

Governor Kemp has issued a video explaining the Executive Order and listing businesses that must
 cease in-person operations and close to the public while the order is effect. 




Click on the graphic on the left to download the files

4-2-20 Governor Kemp
Executive Order


Guidance and FAQ
for the Executive Order


Scroll down for items which funeral service professionals should note in the Guidance and FAQ (under Governor Kemp's video).


CLICK HERE - Georgia Department of Economic Development - COVID-19 Updates and Information page

CLICK HERE - Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) - Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure.  


FUNERAL SERVICE PROFESSIONALS SHOULD TAKE SPECIAL NOTE
 OF THE FOLLOWING PAGES OF THE GUIDANCE AND FAQ

Pages 4 - 9 Critical Infrastructure Entities  

  • Page 4 - Critical Infrastructure Entities - guidance for continuing to use in-person operations / measures which mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19
    Be mindful of all CDC guidance and safety measures 
  • Pages 5 & 6 - Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Advisory Memorandum of Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response
  • Pages 7 & 8 - Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response
  • Page 9 - Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce Healthcare / Public Health 
    • Workers performing mortuary funeral, cremation, burial, cemetery, and related services, including funeral homes, crematoriums, cemetery workers, and coffin makers.
    • Workers who coordinate with other organization to ensure the proper recovery, handling, identification, transportation, tracking, storage, and disposal of human remains and personal effects; certify cause of death; and facilitate access to mental/behavioral health services to the family, responders, and survivors of an incident.

Page 22 - Commonly Asked Questions

  • Item 1 - Do I need a letter to prove that I can keep working? 
  • Item 3 - What does this order mean for church services and funeral services?
    Be mindful that your staff and the service's clergy would need to be considered under the mass gathering guidelines  


Click to open / close the drop down windows.


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"Embalming COVID-19: Infection Control and Storage"

Pierce Chemical's COO, Lance Ray and Dr. Jzyk Ennis, PhD have recently discussed
what embalmers should be thinking about as they plan to handle their
first case of COVID-19.  Dr. Ennis makes some great points and offers some new 
thoughts on the safe care of the deceased under these circumstances.

CLICK HERE to view their article.


Thank You to our 
2020 Clinic Continuing Education Sponsor for this article. 

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The AGEG Board of Directors encourage all funeral service professionals to follow Federal and State orders, follow CDC guidance, and practice best practices. NOTE: Your local authorities and public health officials may have more stringent orders/mandates than what the CDC has recommended. In these cases, you should defer to your local officials.

As the situation is rapidly changing, we recommend you review the information below often. While we do our best to post guidance and information in real time, you should visit the links provided which will take you to the individual agency websites to ensure the most recent items

We encourage you to share all guidance and information immediately with your staff. There are numerous printable resources for your use in your funeral home and shared with your staff and the families you serve.

Messages from Your AGEG Board Members

Richard Jenkins 
President

Darren Ford 
Vice President

3-18-20 - Letter from the AGEG Board of Directors: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Click on the graphic on the left to download the file.



The President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America

The President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America

UPDATED 3-31-20

Click on the graphic on the left to download the file.

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Visit the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) section for information on reporting PPE needs.


CDC's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is available for notification / urgent consultation at 770-488-7100

Medical examiners, coroners, and pathologists should immediately notify their local or state health department in the event of the identification of a deceased person with known or suspected COVID-19.

State and local health departments who have identified a deceased known or suspected COVID-19 case can notify CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 770-488-7100 for urgent consultation if an autopsy is being considered or submission of autopsy tissue specimens or postmortem swabs to CDC for COVID-19 testing is desired. The EOC will assist local/state health departments to collect, store, and ship specimens appropriately to CDC, including during afterhours or on weekends/holidays.


    Guidelines and Information - UPDATED 


  • CLICK HERE - Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • CLICK HERE - Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • CLICK HERE - Infection Prevention and Control FAQs for COVID-19

  • CLICK HERE - Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations

  • CLICK HERE - Supply of Personal Protective Equipment - Be sure to also review the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) below regarding supply of PPE

  • CLICK HERE - Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Protective Equipment

  • CLICK HERE - COVID-19 and Funerals NOTE - Includes - What do funeral home workers need to know about handling decdents who had COVID-19?

  • CLICK HERE - Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • CLICK HERE - Printable Resources for your use in your Funeral Home

    
     Domestic Travel Advisory

  • CLICK HERE - CDC Issues Domestic Travel Advisory for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut
    
    
    Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission

  • CLICK HERE - Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission


    The President's Coronavirus Guidelines - UPDATED 3-31-20

  • CLICK HERE - The President's Coronavirus Guidelines - UPDATED 3-31-20

  • CLICK HERE -  Department of Homeland Security’s Response to COVID-19


  • CLICK HERE - Prevent Worker Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • CLICK HERE - Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

ATTENTION - President Trump has announced that the federal social-distancing and mitigation guidelines will be extended to April 30th.  

  • CLICK HERE - UPDATED - The President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America


Your government is open and working for you, but it’s not business as usual.  Many state organizations are involved in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and are working on related efforts or have made temporary changes during this serious health emergency. Here’s what you should know about the state’s most-accessed services. 

  • CLICK HERE - COVID-19: State Services in Georgia 


- Support for Businesses -

Application for small business emergency loans now open. Governor Brian P. Kemp announced that Georgia has received an official statewide disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), making it possible for small business owners and non-profit organizations in all 159 Georgia counties to apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (click the link). The application is now live, and Georgia small business owners can go directly to the SBA (click the link) for assistance and information.


- Paycheck Protection Program - 

Loans to help small businesses retain their employees. The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll by providing each small business a loan up to $10 million for payroll and certain other expenses. For additional information, including eligibility and requirements, visit the Paycheck Protection Program (click the link) page on the SBA website.


COVID-19 INFORMATION

On April 2, 2020 Governor Kemp signed an Executive Order banning more than ten persons from being gathered at a single location if such gathering requires persons to stand or be seated within six feet of any other person. The order will take effect on April 3, 2020 at 6:00pm and will expire on Monday, April 13, 2020 at 11:59pm. The Sheriffs of this state and their deputies have been authorized to enforce the closure of businesses. The Board encourages licensees to continue to support one another, be mindful of potential exposure, and use best practices to prevent infection and help slow the spread of COVID-19

  • Click HERE for up to date information and guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health. 
  • Click HERE for up to date information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To report issues of noncompliance with the executive order you should call the state's hotline at 844-442-2681. The hotline can be used for asking about symptoms related to COVID-19, finding out if someone should get tested, reporting possible scams related to COVID-19, and alerting the state about non-compliant businesses. 


IMPACT ON NATIONAL BOARD TESTING

Pearson VUE has temporarily closed U.S. testing centers through April 16, 2020. The International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards is working to ensure that candidates affected by this closure will have sufficient time to reschedule and take their exam when centers reopen and testing resumes. For the most up-to-date ICFSEB COVID-19 information click HERE, and for updates from Pearson VUE click HERE.

PSI has temporarily closed their owned and operated physical test centers in the U.S. starting the end of day March 19, 2020 through April 13, 2020. Candidates can reschedule up to and including the day of testing at no penalty and no documentation required. In most cases, candidates can reschedule their examinations on-line and they are encouraged to do so. For updates from PSI click HERE


BOARD OFFICE OPERATIONS UPDATE

In response to Governor Kemp’s recommendation that state employees work remotely, the Professional Licensing Boards Division has implemented telework options for its staff. Effective March 16th, the Professional Licensing Boards Division will be closed to visitors. Constituents are encouraged to utilize web resources for online transactions and to answer frequently asked questions. For additional information you may contact the call center at 844-753-7825. Staff will be available to provide guidance by email. 

  • Contacting the Georgia Board of Funeral Service – Call 844-753-7825. Note, it is recommended to contact the call center to ensure you are helped as soon as possible. Should your call need to be directed, this will ensure you reach the appropriate person to respond to your request.

A MESSAGE FROM PLB

We are all in uncharted territory with the global onset of COVID-19. Many positives arise during times of crisis; however, some see a crisis as an opportunity to scam, mislead, and take advantage of individuals.

Our office has learned that misinformation about licensing is being disseminated in an effort to exploit and create fear in our licensees and others.  
Please stay alert. Be informed. Rely on the resources that you know are trustworthy for information and confirmation. This is one way to avoid being taken advantage of.
If you hear or are included in a discussion about possible license revocation, suspension, deactivation, or exorbitant fines, please verify what you are hearing. Contact the Professional Licensing Board to report this. Visit the Board’s website for correct and accurate information.
We want you to be safe. We want you to know the facts about licensing, now and always. Your Professional Licensing Board and staff are here to help. 


      Georgia Bureau of Investigation

COVID-19 Operations Bulletin 

Click on the graphic on the left to download the file.



  • CLICK HERE - Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report

  • CLICK HERE - Guidance and Information from DPH

  • CLICK HERE - 4-3-20 - DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH - SECOND AMENDED ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER FOR PUBLIC HEALTH CONTROL MEASURES

STATE OF GEORGIA - DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH - AMENDED ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER FOR PUBLIC HEALTH CONTROL MEASURES

Click on the graphic on the left to download the file.



District Health Office Directory


It is important to contact your county’s office directly to inquire about their capabilities to issue death certificate and local mandates or orders which may affect your business. 

In addition, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, with the assistance of the Georgia Department of Public Health, continues to request PPE supplies through the Federal system. To notify officials of your PPE needs. 

  • Contact your local health department.  Note, some areas may refer you to another contact and it is important to follow their instructions.     
  • Following this process is important as it ensures a central line of communication to accurately track the need counts for Georgia and ensures accurate requests to the Federal level. 
  • Remember, resources will be allocated to the 'hot spots' throughout the country and state.


Georgia Department of Public Health - District Health Office Directory

Click on the graphic on the left to download the file.



AGEG has been in contact with Chris Harrison, Georgia State Registrar, for guidance regarding Vital Records and death certificates.

Mr. Harrison has assured AGEG “Vital Records considers the top priority and essential services to be 1) Issuing disposition permits, and 2) registering death records. We believe that these functions can largely be accomplished through e-mail, fax, or online through GAVERS. A secondary priority would be issuing certified copies of birth and death records. If a county has access to their facility in order to print records, we ask that they consider issuing certificate orders by mail. That will limit the visitors to the building, but still allow customers to receive their certificates.”  


IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT CONCERNING COVID-19

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics recently released guidelines for reporting deaths due to Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19. Please share this information with anyone who helps to create, review, and register death certificates.

It is important to emphasize that Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death. We ask that all deaths use the standard terminology COVID-19. Listing all causes leading to death is also important. For example, in cases when COVID-19 causes pneumonia and fatal respiratory distress, both pneumonia and respiratory distress should be included along with COVID-19. Certifiers should include as much detail as possible based on their knowledge of the case, medical records, laboratory testing, etc.

An example may be found below.

For more general guidance and training on cause-of-death reporting, certifiers can refer to the Cause of Death mobile app available through https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/mobile-app.htm and the Improving Cause of Death Reporting online training module, which can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/improving_cause_of_death_reporting.htm.

If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 as it pertains to death certificates, please contact the Georgia DPH State Office of Vital Records. For the most recent updates regarding COVID-19, please visit our website at www.dph.ga.gov.

Thank you,
Chris Harrison, MPH
State Registrar
Deputy Director, State Office of Vital Records 

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Governor Kemp Announces Federal Approval of Major Disaster Declaration

March 29, 2020 - Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that President Trump has declared a major disaster for all 159 Georgia counties due to the impacts from the Coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in a statewide Public Health Emergency being declared on March 14. 

"Georgia is grateful for this designation, as it will enable the state to continue partnering with federal agencies in a coordinated fight against this pandemic,” said Governor Kemp. “The presidential declaration is a critical step in providing additional assistance to our state and local governments as they continue to respond to COVID-19.” 

The declaration for federal assistance currently covers Emergency Protective Measures, which are those actions taken to eliminate or lessen immediate threats to lives, public health, or safety. This declaration also allows federal agencies to provide direct assistance to the State of Georgia. 

Kemp declared a Public Health Emergency on March 14, activating the state emergency operations plan and making available state resources to help address any threats to public health and safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As part of the Office of the Governor, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) works with local, state, and federal governments, in partnership with the private sector and faith-based community, to protect life and property against man-made and natural emergencies. In addition, GEMA/HS employees are on 24-hour call statewide to assist local authorities when disaster strikes. GEMA/HS’ “Ready Georgia” campaign helps Georgians prepare for disasters. Visit www.gema.ga.gov for more information.

  • CLICK HERE - 3/19: New Graveside Recommendations


      Letter Verifying Critical Infrastructure Worker Status

On March 19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued guidance to states naming mortuary workers as “critical infrastructure workers". Many states have adopted the DHS recommendations. One thing this order suggests is that critical infrastructure worker should be exempt from “shelter-in-place” mandates.

Because states are adopting “shelter-in-place” or “safer at home” mandates, NFDA has prepared a Certification of Employment document you can show to authorities verifying your status as a critical infrastructure worker.

This Certification of Employment document should be printed on funeral home letterhead, filled out completely, and signed by an owner or manager of the funeral home.

Letter Verifying Critical Infrastructure Worker Status

Click on the graphic on the left to download the file.



AGEG Membership

AGEG is the only association in Georgia which focuses on Embalmers!  Our members are a great pool of information for embalmers across the state.  We hope you will be a part of this great association.  

IMPORTANT AGEG MEMBERSHIP REMINDERS

  • AGEG membership renewals are due each year regardless of Clinic attendance. If your dues are not renewed in 2020, you will be a new member in 2021.
  • We are in process of updating our forms and appreciate your patience. Forms with the April dates will be accepted in August 2020.    
  • Renewal forms were mailed to the address on file. You may also visit HERE for our membership form. 
  • If you plan to attend our 65th Annual Clinic, August 24-26, you can renew your dues / join AGEG and register for the Clinic with the same form. 

Has your information changed? If so, please complete the information below to ensure AGEG records are accurate. 
When you click submit, the information will come directly to the AGEG office. 


AGEG 65th Annual Clinic Postponed Until August 24-26, 2020

Register Now for Our 65th Annual Clinic - New Dates / Same Locations / Timely Programs

We hope you will join us during our NEW DATES, August 24-26, 2020, for our 65th Annual Clinic! Visit HERE for the full announcement. 

This event offers valuable training from experienced industry professionals and is an excellent opportunity to spend time with your mentors, network with old friends, and make new ones. All events will be held in Forsyth, GA. Visit HERE for event details and registration forms.  Remember, you can renew your dues and register for the Clinic with the same form.

PLEASE NOTE: We are in process of updating our forms and appreciate your patience. Forms with the April dates will be accepted in August 2020. Pre-registrations which have been received or those enroute to the AGEG office will be honored in August.  AGEG staff will be contacting those who have pre-registered in the coming days.  

2020 AGEG Memorial Service

The AGEG Memorial Service is held annually during our Clinic and celebrates the lives of funeral professionals and their loved ones who have passed  (April 1 - March 31 each year).   

  • Visit MEMORIAL SERVICE to submit individuals that should be recognized during our 2020 Memorial Service.
  • Our 2020 Memorial Service will be held Tuesday, August 25 at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, GA.

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Funeral Service License Renewals - Updated Information from the Georgia Board of Funeral Service

The deadline for renewal for all license types was March 31, 2020. If you did not attempt renewal by the March 31st deadline your license is now lapsed. 

You can avoid reinstatement by renewing your license (with a penalty fee) before the end of the Late Renewal Period, which will end on April 30th. Renew online now by clicking HERE.

Have you confirmed your license renewal? What is the current status of your license? Please use the online "Licensure Search" feature to confirm that your renewal has been completed. Be sure to check the current status and the license expiration date. If the information does not reflect that your license is "Active" with an expiration date of 3/31/2022 then your renewal has not been completed. 

If a licensee submitted a renewal application on or before March 31st, the license status should change to "Active-Renewal Pending" while the staff awaits the submission of any required renewal documentation. "Active-Renewal Pending" does not mean that the license has lapsed, is inactive or invalid. O.C.G.A. §50-13-18(b) allows licensees to continue to practice with a license status of “Active-Renewal Pending.”

Please note that all renewal documentation must be submitted by the end of the late renewal period on April 30, 2020. Any documents received/postmarked after that date will not be reviewed, the license will be lapsed, and the licensee will be required to reinstate.


Announcement from the Georgia Corporations Division, Secretary of State Office

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SECRETARY RAFFENSPERGER PROVIDES RELIEF TO GEORGIA BUSINESSES

(ATLANTA) - Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is extending the time for Georgia corporations to file their annual registration to provide relief for Peach State businesses in light of the rapid spread of COVID-19. Georgia businesses are working hard every day to survive through the economic turmoil caused by the global pandemic. Understanding the hardship these businesses face, Raffensperger has extended the annual registration period to May 1.

“The economic turmoil caused by the spread of Coronavirus poses a great challenge to the Georgia economy,” said Raffensperger. “Extending the annual registration period for Georgia businesses provides regulatory relief that will ease the burden for our hardworking entrepreneurs and business owners during these tough times.”

The 2020 annual registration period will now extend an extra month and will end on May 1, 2020. Georgia businesses will be able to file their annual registration until May 1 without incurring any penalties or late filing fees.

Raffensperger made this decision in light of the hardship put on Georgia businesses and entrepreneurs due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Georgia businesses are working short-staffed or with limited access to business resources. Even those who are fully staffed are working tirelessly to keep their businesses afloat in the midst of a turbulent economy.

Georgia business that do file their annual registrations can now register for one, two, or three years. As a legislator, Raffensperger introduced legislation to provide multi-year options for business registration and made it a priority to implement these options as Secretary of State. Georgia businesses who opt to register for two or three years will be able to enjoy a lighter regulatory burden in future years.

Click here to file your 2020 Annual Registration.


OPERATIONS UPDATE

In response to Governor Kemp’s recommendation that state employees work remotely, the Corporations Division has implemented telework options for its staff. Effective March 17, the Corporations Division lobby will be closed to visitors and walk-in customers. Mailed filings are still being accepted by our mail and intake division. For quicker processing, filers are encouraged to utilize online services (https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov) to submit various filings supported by our online system. For additional information, you may contact the call center at 404-656-2817 or email corporationswebmail@sos.ga.gov.


News from the Georgia Department of Public Health

The Georgia Department of Public Health has made rule changes governing Vital Records and the following: 

If you have any questions about these forms you should contact the State Office of Vital Records.


Richard L. Stewart Memorial Scholarship

AGEG is currently accepting applications for the Richard L. Stewart Memorial Scholarship.  Mortuary Students in their final quarter of studies are eligible.  To view all eligibility requirements and for the scholarship application, visit HERE

  • Fully completed Scholarship submissions including official transcripts should be mailed to the AGEG office.
  • Our 2020 Scholarship Submission Deadline is February 28, 2020. 


2019-2020 AGEG Board Members

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(L-R) Mike Cloud, Lee Mack Pierce, Kathryn H. Croft, Richard Jenkins, Darren Ford, Dan McSwords, and Russell Page


AGEG Members elected 2 new board members during our 2019 Business Meeting on Tuesday, April 9, 2019
 at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center.  Learn more about Mike Cloud and Russell Page below. 

Click to open / close the drop down window. 


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