Los Angeles County Lifts Cremation Limit as Coronavirus Deaths Surge

Air pollution control officials in Los Angeles County are temporarily lifting restrictions on how many bodies can be cremated as deaths surge due to the Chinese coronavirus.

“The current rate of death is more than double that of pre-pandemic years, leading to hospitals, funeral homes, and crematoriums exceeding capacity without the ability to process the backlog of cases,” South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) officials said in a statement, according to a report by KRON4.

The South Coast AQMD therefore issued an emergency order on Sunday, which lifts the limitations on crematoriums for at least the next 10 days in order to help with the backlog of bodies filling up mortuaries and hospital morgues due to deaths caused by the Wuhan virus.

The air pollution control agency typically restricts the amount of bodies that are allowed to be cremated every month in order to protect the area’s air quality, according to the report.

The report added that Los Angeles County has suffered several consecutive days with more than 200 coronavirus daily deaths.

“Our community is bearing the brunt of the winter surge, experiencing huge numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, five-times what we experienced over the summer,” said L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer in a statement.

The situation in Los Angeles County is eerily similar to the state of affairs in Bergamo, Italy, last year — a city just northeast of Milan, located in Italy’s Lombardy region, which became the epicenter of the nation’s — and Europe’s — coronavirus crisis.

In March of last year, the mayor of Bergamo, Giorgio Gori, said that his city’s crematories were “unable to dispose of all the work it has to do,” as there were so many bodies of those who have died due to the coronavirus.

“The crematory is no longer enough,” Gori had said. “The oven in the city of Bergamo is unable to dispose of all the work it has to do.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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