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Funeral Homes Overwhelmed Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

(CBS DETROIT) - The Covid-19 pandemic looms as a dark cloud over southeastern Michigan claiming the lives of over 3,000 people the highest regional death toll in the state.

The massive number of deaths are weighing heavy on funeral homes as they work overtime to prepare final arrangements.

"My son, my wife and I have been working 18 hours a day almost seven days a week," said Stephen R. Kemp, Sr.

Stephen Kemp – president and CEO of Kemp Funeral Home and Cremations in Southfield says he's never seen anything like this before where a disease has taken so many lives in such a short period of time.

"Never in my 36 years of doing this, and teaching it and preparing for this have I ever seen anything like this. You know mass casualty you can prepare for because it's a one-time event. Not day after day after day after day," he said.

Directors say call volumes are up five times the average rate since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the Metro-area.

"On a typical month we do about 25 calls a month. In April we did 158," said Kemp.

As the bodies stack up a long trail of paper work follows exhausting a system of connecting departments.

"It stresses the vital records department, it stresses the medical examiner, the hospital. It stresses the physicians. Everybody who's involved all the way from the first responders that everybody likes to talk about to the last responders who we are," he said.

Right now, Kemp is limiting service attendance to 10 people at a time to adhere to social distancing orders.

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