Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers
COVID-19 Information (March 2020 - June 2021)
FEMA Funeral Assistance Program (NEW!) – April 6, 2021
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program to help pay funeral expenses associated with COVID-19 related deaths.
For more information:
- Access the FEMA website - COVID-19 Funeral Assistance.
- Access the April 6th News Release of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM).
COVID-19 VACCINATION INFORMATION
To find out more information related to the COVID-19 vaccinations, and when the vaccination will be available to you, please see the Virginia Department of Health information at the following link https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/ or the following link "Find out Which Phase You are Eligible For."
Updated CDC Information Concerning Handling of COVID-19 Patients
July 21, 2020
What do funeral home workers need to know about handling decedents who had COVID-19?
A funeral or visitation service can be held for a person who has died of COVID-19. Funeral home workers should follow their routine infection prevention and control precautions when handling a decedent who died of COVID-19. If it is necessary to transfer a body to a bag, follow Standard Precautions, including additional personal protective equipment (PPE) if splashing of fluids is expected. For transporting a body after the body has been bagged, disinfect the outside of the bag with a product with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims external icon expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.). Wear disposable nitrile gloves when handling the body bag.
Embalming can be conducted. During embalming, follow Standard Precautions including the use of additional PPE if splashing is expected (e.g. disposable gown, face shield or goggles and N95 respirator). Wear appropriate respiratory protection if any procedures will generate aerosols or if required for chemicals used in accordance with the manufacturer’s label. Wear heavy-duty gloves over nitrile disposable gloves if there is a risk of cuts, puncture wounds, or other injuries that break the skin. Additional information on how to safely conduct aerosol-generating procedures is in the CDC’s Postmortem Guidance. Cleaning should be conducted in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims external icon are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time).
After cleaning and removal of PPE, perform hand hygiene by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water is not available. Soap and water should be used if the hands are visibly soiled.
Decedents with COVID-19 can be buried or cremated, but check for any additional state and local requirements that may dictate the handling and disposition of the remains of individuals who have died of certain infectious diseases.
For more information, please click here.
Updated information - Gatherings of Individuals
Virginia Veterans Cemeteries – COVID-19 Protocols (November 18, 2020)
Please click here to read the correspondence from Michael Henshaw, Director of Virginia State Veterans Cemeteries, regarding COVID-19 protocols at Virginia's three state veterans' cemeteries in Suffolk, Dublin and Amelia.
June 3, 2020
To view the most recent Executive Orders related to gatherings and the phased easing of temporary restrictions, please click here.
Licensees should continue to follow the orders of the Governor during this time of emergency and use their best professional judgment when considering the implications of the virus and gatherings of individuals.
Where licensees have questions about the virus and ways to protect oneself and others, licensees are encouraged to review information from the Virginia Department of Health (https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/) and the Centers for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#funerals).
Updated Information - CDC Guidance, Certifying Deaths, and Notifying Funeral Providers of Known or Suspected COVID-19 Cases
May 7, 2020
- Clinician Letter - Dr. Norman Oliver, State Health Commissioner (May 7, 2020) - Contains information related to prompt certifications on death certificates and notification of funeral service providers by facilities upon transfer of a decedent with suspected or known COVID-19.
- Updated CDC Guidance: Collection and Submission of Postmortem Specimens from Deceased Persons with Known or Suspected COVID-19.
- CDC: Certifying Deaths Due to Coronavirus Disease (3 minute YouTube video)
Important Information from the Office of Vital Records
Please click this link to access important correspondence from Janet M. Rainey, State Registrar, regarding the suspension of walk-in services and the process for amendments to death certificates transmitted to the Office of Vital Records.
Frequently Asked Questions to the Board - COVID-19
Published March 17, 2020
The Board has recently received a number of inquiries related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. For more information related to the most frequently asked questions, click on the topic areas below:
Requests for Extensions of Continuing Education Requirements (March 18, 2020)
Handling of Decedents and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (Updated July 21, 2020)
Important Information from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME)
Published February 2020, updated March 12, 2020
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) While Handling Remains (March 12, 2020)
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) is reaching out due to the questions and inquiries regarding appropriate precautions with handling decedents who are suspected of or have confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19). Read the OCME memo. Please see the FAQ's regarding COVID-19 on the CDC's website.
Death Certificates and the Electronic Death Registration System (January 16, 2020)
The Virginia Board of Medicine and the Virginia Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers encourage you to read an important notification regarding Death Certificates and the Electronic Death Registration System.