Coronavirus News: NYC funeral director describes difficulties caused by COVID-19 pandemic

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ByJim Dolan via WABC logo
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
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Jim Dolan has more on a funeral home in Harlem that continues to be overwhelmed by the COVID-19 death toll and the grieving families looking for a place to lay their loved ones to rest.

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- As New York prepares for the possibility of slowly re-opening the state and city, funeral homes continue to be overwhelmed by coronavirus victims and grieving families.

Lilly Sage is the Funeral Director at the International Funeral Chapel in Harlem, where files pile up on the desk and the phone doesn't stop ringing.

Sage spends much of her day on the phone with families who have lost loved ones.

The numbers have a taken a personal toll even on those who have spent a career working with grieving families.

An employee who works at the funeral home, Alicia Navarez, says that she showers before she goes home and cleans everything with lysol.

Another employee, Jenny Adames, was so afraid of giving the virus to her daughter that she had the girl move in temporarily with her grandmother.

In better times, this funeral home helps families make videos and offers a hand of comfort. But it's much harder now.

"This is a business of compassion and we want to be there for them and service them fully and we want to be able to offer them anything that we possibly can, and that kind of has changed as well," Navarez said.

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