California funeral homes run out of space as COVID-19 rages

California funeral homes run out of space as COVID-19 rages
FILE - In this July 21, 2020, file photo, Darryl Hutchinson, facing camera, is hugged by a relative during a funeral service for Lydia Nunez, who was Hutchinson's cousin at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Los Angeles. Nunez died from COVID-19. Southern California funeral homes are turning away bereaved families because they're running out of space for the bodies piling up during an unrelenting coronavirus surge. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) (Source: Marcio Jose Sanchez)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - As communities across the country feel the pain of a surge in coronavirus cases, funeral homes in the hot spot of Southern California say they must turn away grieving families as they run out of space for the bodies piling up.

One funeral home is averaging six times its normal rate, or about 30 body removals a day.

The head of the California Funeral Directors Association says mortuaries are being “inundated” as the United States nears a tally of 350,000 COVID-19 deaths.

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