Visit the sections below to view more information:
Website Maintenance Announcement
July 3-6, this section will be undergoing maintenance. We thank you for your patience during this period.
July 2, 2020 - Safeguarding the health of our attendees, sponsors, speakers, staff, and our communities is paramount to the AGEG Board of Directors. With the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases and careful consultation with our speakers, venues and hotels, the AGEG Board of Directors has made the decision to officially cancel the 2020 AGEG Annual Clinic. With the cancellation, the AGEG Board of Directors unanimously voted to freeze the AGEG Board of Directors for 2020-2021.
AGEG will be offering webinars this fall to our 2020 members to assist in earning the required continuing education hours. We look forward to announcing more details very soon. We encourage those who planned to pay their membership dues onsite, to take a moment and do so now.
Those who pre-registered for the 2020 Clinic (attendance, banquet, golf, or sponsorship) may notify AGEG in writing by July 31, 2020 of the following option of their choice:
Please note: Membership dues are payable each year regardless of clinic attendance and are not refundable due to the clinic cancellation.
If you made a room reservation for the 2020 Clinic, please review the following information:
The AGEG Board of Directors and staff appreciate your support of the association and our events. As always, we encourage you to contact us if we may be of any assistance.
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.
Click below to open / close the drop down windows.
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.
Governor Brian P. Kemp - CLICK HERE
Governor Kemp Extends COVID-19 Executive Orders
JUNE 29, 2020 - Atlanta, GA
Today Governor Brian P. Kemp signed two executive orders extending the Public Health State of Emergency and existing COVID-19 safety measures.
"As we continue our fight against COVID-19 in Georgia, it is vital that Georgians continue to heed public health guidance by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and practicing social distancing," said Governor Kemp. "We have made decisions throughout the pandemic to protect the lives - and livelihoods - of all Georgians by relying on data and the advice of public health officials."
"While we continue to see a decreasing case fatality rate, expanded testing, and adequate hospital surge capacity, in recent days, Georgia has seen an increase in new cases reported and current hospitalizations. Given these trends, I am extending previous COVID-19 safety requirements and guidelines that were due to expire on June 30 at 11:59 PM. Dr. Kathleen Toomey and the Department of Public Health, along with our local public health partners, will continue to monitor ongoing cases and related data to ensure that we are taking appropriate measures moving forward. Together, we can win the fight against COVID-19 and emerge stronger."
Executive Order 06.29.20.01 extends the Public Health State of Emergency through 11:59 PM on August 11, 2020. The Public Health State of Emergency allows for enhanced coordination across government and the private sector for supply procurement, comprehensive testing, and healthcare capacity.
Executive Order 06.29.20.02 continues to require social distancing, bans gatherings of more than fifty people unless there is six feet between each person, outlines mandatory criteria for businesses, and requires sheltering in place for those living in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile. The order also outlines that the State Board of Education must provide "rules, regulations, and guidance for the operation of public elementary and secondary schools for local boards of education" in accordance with guidance from Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the Department of Public Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The order runs through 11:59 PM on July 15, 2020.
FUNERAL SERVICE PROFESSIONALS - NOTE THE FOLLOWING:
Unless otherwise noted, the provisions contained in the Order shall be effective from July 1, 2020 at 12:00 A.M. until July 15, 2020 at 11:59 P.M.
All residents and visitors of the State of Georgia shall:
Mortuary services are a Critical Infrastructure as determined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). These businesses must continue to operate with social distancing and sanitation rules to keep customers and employees safe. Mortuary service providers, such as:
Critical Infrastructure measures and guidance in this Executive Order may be found in Section V. Industry, Commerce, Organizations & Non-Profits.
Remember to review guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well.
If you are reporting a possible violation of Governor Kemp’s Shelter in Place Order please contact:
For all non-urgent requests, please continue to contact Constituent Services through their online form found HERE
COVID-19 Hotline: (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.
Georgia Board of Funeral Service - CLICK HERE
On June 29, 2020 Governor Kemp signed an Executive Order, which will terminate on July 15, 2020 at 11:59 pm, requiring that all businesses, residents, and visitors of the State of Georgia practice social distancing and refrain from gathering in groups of fifty (50) persons or more unless they are able to maintain a distance of six (6) feet or more between each other, and encouraging all residents and visitors to wear face coverings while outside their homes or place of residence. 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To report issues of noncompliance with any of the executive orders 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 resumed full testing on May 1, 2020, though there is limited test center capacity for scheduling to enforce social distancing. For the most up-to-date ICFSEB COVID-19 information click HERE, and for updates from Pearson VUE click HERE.
PSI test centers began reopening on May 1, 2020. Test sites will be opened where city, county, and state jurisdictions will allow, however, as the safety of candidates and PSI’s employees remain a top priority, sites will only be open for scheduling at 50% of their capacity in order to enforce social distancing procedures. PSI has also enacted a number of new policies surrounding enhanced sanitation procedures, allowable personal protective equipment for candidates, and flexible rescheduling. An outline of the steps being taken to ensure candidate and employee safety can be found 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.
Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) - CLICK HERE
Expanding COVID-19 Testing in Georgia
Effective immediately, free COVID-19 testing is available to all Georgians who request it, whether they have symptoms or not. Call your local health department to schedule an appointment at a location near you.
PPE NEEDS - Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH)
- 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.
Request for Status of Morgue Bed Availability
Facilities with morgues have been asked by the Department of Public Health (PDH) to update their morgue bed availability status daily by visiting the Morgue Availability Reporting Tool- for emergency use HERE. This is the morgue bed availability reporting tool used to report daily availability, normal and surge capacities, location and points of contact which can be completed on a phone, laptop or desktop computer. The information collected may be used by emergency managers to help support each other during these turbulent times.
Georgia State Office of Vital Records - CLICK HERE
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT CONCERNING COVID-19
Greetings from the State Office of Vital Records,
We understand that many other offices have closed, or limited their functions to essential services due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
For Vital Records, we would consider the top priority 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.
Lastly, good communication will be crucial during this time. We ask that county registrars communicate any changes in local operations to stakeholders like funeral directors, coroners, and birth hospitals. Please be alert for any additional communications from Georgia DPH and the State Office of Vital Records. We will share more information as it becomes available. The response to COVID-19 is changing rapidly, and we appreciate everyone’s cooperation.
AGEG has received questions regarding the Guidance for Certifying COVID-19 Deaths. We have been in communication with Chris Harrison, MPH, Georgia State Registrar, Deputy Director. Please review the additional information from Mr. Harrison below.
Generally speaking COVID-19 should not be on line A. If COVID-19 is the underlying cause of death it would be listed on the lowest line used of lines A-D. In the attached guidance document that we sent there was screenshot that showed COVID-19 listed on line B (it doesn’t seem to have the screenshot in the scan you sent). None of the guidance we have sent or shared from the CDC has COVID-19 on the first line.
The way to think of the cause of death lines is:
The patient died of Line A, which was cause by Line B, which was caused by Line C, which was caused by Line D.
A sequence for a COVID-19 death could be something like:
acute respiratory failure (line A), which was caused by pneumonia (line B), which was caused by COVID-19 (line C).
If COVID-19 were listed on the first line, it would mean the COVID-19 was caused by acute respiratory failure, which doesn’t make sense and wouldn’t be accurate.
Chris Harrison, MPH
Deputy Director, Data Integrity & Analytics
State Office of Vital Records
Georgia Department of Public Health
CLICK HERE to utilize the links included in the guidance and for a printable version. .
COVID-19: State Services in Georgia - CLICK HERE
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.
- State Guidance for Small Businesses -
State launches an information website to provide guidance to small businesses about COVID-19 support programs. Through the University of Georgia’s 17 Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the state has launched an information website to provide guidance on accessing a variety of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) programs. Now small business owners throughout Georgia have a dedicated resource to help them understand how to take advantage of assistance and support programs designed to help them and their employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- 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.
- The CARES Act -
Federal support helps small businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. State programs like Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program are receiving federal backing through The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, which the President recently signed into law. You can find more information about how the CARES Act is supporting small businesses at Coronavirus.gov.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - CLICK HERE
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.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - CLICK HERE
As always, we caution you to be aware of email and phone scams. If you receive an email which seems suspicious don't click on links or open attachments. Note the email address associated with the message or phone number associated with the call.
From FEMA - Coronavirus Rumor Control
There have been reports that scammers are pretending to be the government, contacting people by robocall, text message, email and other outreach. These scammers say they can get people financial help during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then ask for money or personal information, like your Social Security, bank account or credit card number. This is a SCAM.
Don’t trust anyone who offers financial help and then asks for money or personal information. Federal and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money. The Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, U.S. Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control staff never charge for disaster assistance.
The Federal Trade Commission scams page has tips to help you avoid scams online, on the phone, by text and through email. If you see a scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission: ftc.gov/complaint.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries will resume committal services starting June 9 in all but two VA national cemeteries.
VA national cemeteries will contact families who were unable to hold a committal service due to the COVID-19 pandemic to arrange memorial services for their loved ones beginning in July.
"During the last 10 weeks VA national cemeteries have continued performing our essential mission — to inter Veterans and eligible family members," said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. "We believe we have a robust set of measures in place that will allow us to conduct committal and memorial services while protecting the health and safety of Veterans, their families and our team members who serve them."
While VA is eager to resume normal operations, the department’s national cemeteries have remained open for interments and visitation throughout the pandemic. However, as a matter of health and safety, committal services and military funeral honors have been deferred since March 23.
Interments scheduled on or after June 9, will be offered the option of a committal service at the time of interment. At Calverton and Long Island national cemeteries, that option will be available starting June 22, provided state and local guidance permit. Military funeral honors, customarily provided by the Department of Defense and volunteer honor guards, will be based on local availability.
VA national cemeteries will continue adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the number of individuals attending committal services, practicing physical distancing between individuals not from the same household, ensuring all attendees and employees wear face coverings, encouraging frequent use of hand sanitizer and asking sick individuals to stay home. The number of permitted attendees will vary based on state and local guidelines for gathering sizes provided the facility can accommodate increased attendees while maintaining physical distancing. Families may continue to choose direct interment and opt for a memorial service later when all restrictions have been lifted.
Memorial services for Veterans and eligible family members who were interred without a committal service between March 23 and June 8 will commence in July.
For more information, visit the National Cemetery Adminstration (NCA). Media should contact NCA Public Affairs chief Les' Melnyk at Les.Melnyk@VA.gov.
To make burial arrangements at any VA national cemetery contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117.
Dear Funeral Directors:
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries will resume committal services starting June 9 in all but two VA national cemeteries.
VA national cemeteries will contact families who were unable to hold a committal service due to the COVID-19 pandemic to arrange memorial services for their loved ones beginning in July.
Families with interments scheduled on or after June 9 will be offered the option of a committal service at the time of interment. At Calverton and Long Island national cemeteries in New York, that option will be available starting June 22 provided state and local guidance permit.
To schedule committal services, please contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office beginning June 6 at (800) 535-1117.
NCA has implemented a robust set of measures that will allow us to conduct committal and memorial services while protecting the health and safety of Veterans, their families and our team members who serve them. VA national cemeteries continue to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Cemetery directors have the authority and responsibility to maintain a safe environment at the cemetery for visitors and employees. As such, if a family member or attendee refuses to follow safety measures at the committal shelter the cemetery will not conduct the committal service or allow the witnessing of the interment.
To ensure the safety of our visitors and employees, all attendees are required to follow these safety measures:
Funeral home directors are asked to emphasize the cemetery’s requirement that all attendees follow these safety measures for the committal service to commence.
Families wishing to display floral arrangements on stands at the committal service may do so, however, all handling, placement and removal of the arrangements must be done by funeral home personnel or the family. Floral arrangements will not be transported by cemetery personnel to the gravesite at the time of interment. Families wishing to place a floral arrangement(s) (limit 2) may do so after 4:30 p.m. on the day of interment or any time thereafter. These changes will be in effect until further notice. As a reminder, cemeteries will not accept floral arrangements for direct interments.
Funeral home personnel, families and visitors should be aware that some buildings, such as Public Information Centers, Administrative Buildings, and chapels remain closed to the public. Contact the local cemeteries for specific information.
Military funeral honors, customarily provided by the Department of Defense and volunteer honor guards, will be based on local availability. Funeral home directors are encouraged to contact military funeral honors providers to determine services and availability. Military honors personnel will be required to wear a face mask and maintain physical distancing.
Families are not required to conduct a committal service. They may continue to choose direct interment and opt for a memorial service at a later date when all restrictions have been lifted.
Memorial services for Veterans and eligible family members who were interred without a committal service between March 23 and June 8 will commence in July. Cemetery representatives will be reaching out to all of these families in the coming weeks to discuss their options and schedule a memorial service, if desired. Families may also contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office or the cemetery directly to schedule a memorial service after June 29, 2020.
Conditions and restrictions at local cemeteries can and will change in response to state, local and federal guidelines and orders. You are encouraged to contact your local cemetery for specific information or details.
Lastly, NCA would like to thank you for all that you have done for our nation’s Veterans and their families during these unprecedented times. Your partnership and commitment to ensure Veterans receive the burial benefits they deserve is always appreciated and not forgotten.
For more information, visit the NCA’s website, https://wwww.cem.va.gov.
To make burial arrangements at any VA national cemetery, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117.
Thank you for your cooperation,
The National Cemetery Administration
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. Visit HERE for more information and our membership form.
The deadline for renewal for all license types was March 31, 2020. If you did not complete your renewal by the April 30th late renewal deadline your license is now lapsed and you will need to reinstate your license. Applications for reinstatement can be found under the "Application/Form Downloads" tab of the Georgia Board of Funeral Service website, 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 was 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.
State Office of Vital Records: Zoho Ticketing Form-Update
Greetings from the State Office of Vital Records,
On Monday, July 1st, 2020, the State Office of Vital Records will implement three new fields to our ticketing form that you see when clicking on the “Report GAVERS Issues” link. Take a moment to review the fields below and if you have additional questions, please reach out to your Regional Consultant for further details. You may also submit a ticket via the ‘Report GAVERS Issue(s)’ link located on the home page of GAVERS.
The added fields are:
1. Is this a ticket resubmission?: This field will have the options of “yes” or “no”. If you are resubmitting a ticket choose “yes” and enter your ticket number in the next field. If this is the first time submitting a specific request you can select “no”.
2. If yes, provide previous ticket number: This field will accept only numerical characters. If you answered yes to the “is this a ticket resubmission” enter your previous ticket number in this field.
3. Record date of event: If you are submitting a ticket to request assistance with a record, enter the date of the event (DOB/DOD) in this field.
Note: If you open the form after July 1st to submit a ticket and you notice that the new fields did not appear, press and hold [CTRL] + [F5] simultaneously for two seconds to refresh the page: If after you perform the key sequence you do not see the new fields, use the form you see to submit a ticket to request technical assistance regarding this matter.
Operations Support Team
Data Integrity & Analytics
State Office of Vital Records
Georgia Department of Public Health: Rules Changes Governing Vital Records
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.
Proposed Amendments to Joint Secretary Rules
June 10, 2020
This correspondence is in regards to proposed rule changes being considered by the Joint Secretary-Professional Licensing Boards Division (hereinafter "Agency"). The proposed rules may be viewed at the Agency's website using the following link: https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/joint_secretary_proposed_rules_admendments
Any questions or comments may be directed to the Board by calling the following number: 844-753-7825.
The Joint Secretary-Professional Licensing Boards Division
NOTE: From the Georgia Board of Funeral Service: Rules 295-16 & 17 affect all the boards but should not change how any of our boards are currently operating. This is something that the Division is adopting as there was a change in statutes O.C.G.A. § 50-13-9 and 50 13-11.
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.
(L-R) Mike Cloud, Lee Mack Pierce, Kathryn H. Croft, Richard Jenkins, Darren Ford, Dan McSwords, and Russell Page