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Families will be able to begin applying for assistance April 12 2021 through their dedicated call center.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Congress authorized FEMA to provide financial assistance to individuals who incurred COVID-19-related funeral expenses after January 20, 2020. FEMA has issued its final policy, which includes details such as eligibility, documentation criteria, and the application process.
More information may be found in our NEW FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance section, CLICK HERE, including an updated Frequenty Asked Questions section.
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Georgia Board of Funeral Service - CLICK HERE
The Board strongly encourages licensees to continue to support one another, be mindful of potential exposure, use best practices to prevent infection and help slow the spread of COVID-19, and adhere to the terms of the Governor's Executive Orders to ensure the health, safety and welfare of both licensees and the general public.
Click HERE to see Governor Kemp's most recent Executive Orders relating to COVID-19 and the Public Health State of Emergency.
Click HERE for up to date information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including information for Funeral Home Workers, which can be found HERE, and Funeral Guidance for Individuals and Families, which can be found HERE.
Click HERE for up to date information and guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program.
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 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 are reopened 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. PSI is now mandating that ALL candidates wear face masks at all times while in the test center. If a candidate fails to bring and wear a face mask during the examination, they will be requested to leave the test site. An outline of the steps being taken to ensure candidate and employee safety can be found HERE. It is important to note that due to the backlog of candidates and testing centers operating at reduced capacity, scheduling availability may not be immediate. Situations are arising where candidates need to be rescheduled to ensure procedures are adhered to. When a cancellation must happen, PSI will begin rescheduling candidate appointments by most recently scheduled, prioritizing candidates that have held their appointments the longest. Please check your email and voicemails routinely to review any pertinent exam appointment communication from PSI and avoid unnecessary travel. For questions, PSI can be best reached at 855-744-0314.
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 404-424-9966. Staff will be available to provide guidance by email.
Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) - CLICK HERE
COVID-19 Testing in Georgia
If You're Sick or Exposed to COVID-19
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.
Guidance for Certifying COVID-19 Deaths
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.
Governor Brian P. Kemp - CLICK HERE
"Governor Kemp Issues New COVID-19 Guidance Executive Order"
APRIL 30, 2021
Key provisions of the new executive order:
1. Modifies the social distancing and sanitation requirements for residents and visitors to “strongly encouraged.”
2. Eliminates the restaurant and bar table distancing requirements and workers mask requirement.
3. Eliminates all specific requirements for gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters, body art studios, estheticians, hair stylists, and massage therapists.
4. Reduces the requirements for Conventions.
5. Eliminates the requirement that childcare facilities prohibit all unnecessary visitors.
6. Provides that Live Performance Venues, regardless of seating capacity, are only required to follow the guidelines for all Organizations, and such venues may implement additional measures in conjunction with the performer or organizer of an event.
7. Maintains that professional, collegiate, and high school sports organizations and events shall operate pursuant to the rules or guidelines issued by their respective league, conference, or association.
8. Clarifies that graduation ceremonies are only required to follow the guidelines for all Organizations.
Providing additional guidance for Empowering a Healthy Georgia in response to COVID-19
It is ordered that unless otherwise note, the provisions in this order shall be effective from
May 1, 2021 at 12:00 A.M. until May 30, 2021 at 11:59 P.M.
the person shall not be required to quarantine but shall actively monitor for Symptoms of COVID-19.If at any time during the Post-Exposure Quarantine Protocol time period a person experiences Symptoms of COVID-19, that person shall seek a COVID-19 test, isolate until test results are received, and proceed in accordance with the test results and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Georgia Department of Public Health guidelines.
Renewing the Public Health State of Emergency in response to COVID-19
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - CLICK HERE
Guidelines / Information
The National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL)
CDC's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is Available for Notification/Urgent Consultation
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.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - CLICK HERE
Order printed copies of OSHA COVID-19 posters and guidance booklets for your workplace. All items are free and available in multiple languages. Visit HERE, OSHA’s publications page, to place an order.
World Health Organization (WHO) - CLICK HERE
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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.