Southern Kentucky funeral homes feel strain of increased number of COVID-related deaths

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LINCOLN COUNTY, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – W. L. Pruitt Funeral Home in Moreland had 10 funerals from people who died of COVID-19 from January to July of this year. They had the same number of funerals, just in the month of August.

“Almost 50% of the call volume was due to COVID-19. They did not all have underlying health conditions,” said Tony Floro with W.L. Pruitt Funeral Home.

That’s a switch from earlier in the year or last year when most COVID-19 deaths were of people who had other health issues and were much older.

“The first time it was mainly in the elderly— 70s and 80s. This time it’s all across the board,” Floro said.

That includes recently a 48-year-old woman. And scheduling funerals is also challenging.

“It’s just hard. Because whole families have it,” Floro said.

In Somerset, it’s a similar story. Lake Cumberland had two COVID funerals last week, and eight over the past month.

“It’s hitting more middle age and younger people. And people that don’t have pre-existing conditions like it did in 2020,” said Christopher Lange with Lake Cumberland Funeral Home.

And most of the people who are dying were not vaccinated, according to what both funeral directors are seeing.

“That’s not a specific question we ask but in interacting with the families and talking with them, almost all of our deaths were unvaccinated,” Floro said.

“I think most of them have not been vaccinated. I lost a good friend of mine here a few weeks ago. He was anti-vaccination,” Lange said.

Lange said despite the increased number of COVID deaths, they are able to handle the load,” Lange said.

Floro said they don’t mandate the wearing of masks during funerals, but he said almost everyone attending services wears one.

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