Funeral homes are inundated
That stress extends to all aspects of a community, including funeral homes like Frye Chapel & Mortuary in Blythe, California, along the state's southeastern border with Arizona.
Sheila Kruger, the funeral home's managing partner, told CNN her business has tripled. She's booked with funerals for the next four or five weeks, with the coronavirus accounting for a growing share of deaths.
"We've had married couples that die within a day of each other, a husband and wife. We've had parents and children die within a week of each other. It's heart wrenching," she said.
Kruger's staff was overwhelmed this summer, handling 135 deaths in one month compared to the average of 55. She's since doubled her staff and purchased additional refrigerated units to store bodies. But now they're filling up again.
Experts believe the death toll is going to climb exponentially. Last week, Dr. Jonathan Reiner of George Washington University School of Medicine, predicted the rate of deaths would likely double in less than two weeks to an average of 4,000 a day.
Kruger's not alone. In Rockford, Illinois, Tim Honquest, director of the Honquest Family Funeral Homes, told CNN affiliate WREX that his business ran out of refrigerated space to store bodies
His business nearly doubled in November alone -- conducting 54 funerals compared to the usual 30. Twenty-six of the funerals last month were due to Covid-19.
While Kruger feels her staff can handle the boom in business, she believes some are suffering from post-traumatic stress, partly due to having to repeatedly inform grieving families they can't have a funeral for five weeks.
"We're all just kind of cringing and saying, 'We do not want to do this again,'" she said.