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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.
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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.
UPDATES IN SEPTEMBER
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Governor Brian P. Kemp - CLICK HERE
Governor Kemp Extends Public Health State of Emergency
Governor Kemp Extends COVID-19 Order, Addresses Long-Term Care Facility Visitation
Atlanta, GA – On September 15, 2020, Governor Brian P. Kemp signed Executive Order 09.15.20.01, extending current COVID-19 restrictions and issuing guidance for long-term care facility visitation. The new Executive Order takes effect on September 16 at 12:00 AM and runs through September 30 at 11:59 PM.
Under Executive Order 09.15.20, there are no changes to the mandatory restrictions in place for the operation of businesses, including food establishments, bars, cinemas, bowling alleys, salons, barbers, cosmetologists, amusement parks, live performance and event venues, childcare facilities, etc. The local option for requiring face coverings, subject to specific criteria, remains in place.
The shelter in place provisions for people who live in long-term care facilities and the medically fragile remain in place. The Order also continues to include a large gathering ban of fifty (50) persons unless social distancing is maintained.
The Order adds new language to clearly authorize community and state ombudsmen to perform inspections at long-term care facilities and - subject to specific criteria and restrictions outlined by the Department of Public Health - allow long-term care facilities to conduct in-person visitation in accordance with the DPH Administrative Order titled "Long-Term Care Facilities Reopening Guidance."
FUNERAL SERVICE PROFESSIONALS - NOTE THE FOLLOWING:
Unless otherwise noted, the provisions contained in the Order shall be effective from September 16, at 12:00 AM until September 30, 2020 at 11:59 PM. The Executive Order may be viewed by clicking the file to the right.
All residents and visitors of the State of Georgia shall:
Critical Infrastructure that continue in-person operation during the effective dates of this Order shall implement measures to mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19.
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:
Remember to review guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well.
Georgia Department of Economic Development: COVID-19 Updates and Information, including Critical Infrastructure details: click HERE
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19: click HERE
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): click HERE
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 Department of Public Health (DPH) - CLICK HERE
COVID-19 Information and Guidance
Expanding COVID-19 Testing in Georgia
COVID-19 Mega-Testing Site
The mega-testing site which has the capacity to test 5,000 people a day is located at 1800 Sullivan Road, College Park, Georgia, 30337. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. from Aug. 10 through Sep. 11. Testing is available to all Georgians regardless of symptoms, however appointments and online registrations are recommended.
To register online and to make an appointment go to https://www.doineedacovid19test.com/. There is no charge for testing.
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. .
Alabama Board of Funeral Service - CLICK HERE
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY - ADOPTED EMERGENCY RULE
Below is a copy of the adopted Emergency Rule concerning the embalming and funeral services for COVID-19 remains. This rule has been filed with Legislative Services Agency and is effective immediately.
This rule will expire on December 5, 2020.
If you have any questions, you may contact the Board’s office, (334) 242-4049.
Charles M. Perine
Alabama Board of Funeral Service
Georgia Board of Funeral Service - CLICK HERE
On August 31, 2020 Governor Kemp signed an Executive Order, which will terminate on September 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, including information for Funeral Home Workers, which can be found HERE, and Funeral Guidance for Individuals and Families, which can be found HERE.
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.
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.
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.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - CLICK HERE
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