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Quad Cities funeral home reacts to COVID-19 surge

Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 10:57 PM CST
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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - COVID-19 related deaths have put a strain on the funeral home industry across the country.

Since Jan. 21, health officials in Scott County, Iowa, and Rock Island County, Ill. reported 19 COVID-related deaths.

Reid Trimble, a funeral director at Trimble Funeral Home and Crematory said COVID changed much of his role in helping grieving families.

“We’re not, you know, call for repair or something [and] say, ’well we have to push you out till next Saturday.’ We can’t say ‘I’m sorry, we can’t come to the hospital right now and pick up your mother because we’re too busy,’”

Trimble said a Funeral Home’s job is to be there for families even if they’re short on resources.

“For that reason, that’s a mindset of ours, that no matter what, that the families that call upon us come first,” Trimble said.

At the beginning of the pandemic, funeral services were either live-streamed or attendance was limited, often changing how a family may grieve.

For instance, Trimble said more families are choosing to cremate their loved ones and hold a celebration of life instead of a traditional funeral.

“We’re seeing that now were folks that maybe had lost a loved one during the heart of the pandemic are coming back now, having a gathering with hors d’oeuvres and wine, or Harris Pizza and beer, and just being together,” Trimble said. “We’ve seen some healing come through because of that.”

Part of a funeral director’s job is also to make families aware of the resources available to them.

For people who’ve lost a family member due to COVID, one of those resources is a funeral reimbursement from FEMA. Eligible families may be reimbursed up to $9,000.

“While they’re sitting around the hospital or the nursing home, they can be reading on FEMA’s website, the frequently asked questions,” Trimble said. “They can make sure that they get the best resources that FEMA has provided.”

Funds for the reimbursement program come from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan Act signed in 2021.

Individuals looking for eligibility requirements are encouraged to visit the FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance website for more information.

Applications are only accepted via phone. The process can be started by calling (844) 684-6333.

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