COVID-19 Update 2021-04-04T21:33:19-07:00

COVID-19 Update

At O’Connor Mortuary we are committed to living out our core purpose of Healing Hearts, Inspiring Trust, and Comforting Souls. Our staff as a whole is working in new and creative ways that ensure the health and safety of the families we serve and of our own families at home.

If you have any further questions about how we are handling the new recommendations or how they might effect you, please give us a call at (949) 581-4300.

Updated April 5, 2021

FEMA Update on Financial Assistance for families – read more here.

We are implementing the following public safety procedures to protect your family and our staff during the current health crisis, effective immediately.

  • We are adhering to guidelines recommended by the CDC (CDC on COVID-19 & Funerals), the California Department of Public Health, and the Orange County Health Care Agency.
  • We are open and will continue to care for you and your loved one – day or night, every day of the year. The continuum of care that we offer is unparalleled and gives the families we serve tremendous peace-of-mind, especially during these unsettling times.
  • We are offering phone and email family appointments to families choosing to stay home. If you choose to come into the mortuary for your appointment, we require that you limit the number of people attending to three (3).
  • All ceremonies in our chapel are limited to 60 people maximum.
  • Complimentary Live Streaming is available for services in our chapel.
  • Enhanced hygiene practices and social distancing are in effect with our team.
  • All employees, families and guests are required to wear a face covering while inside our building.
  • Please be mindful of CDC guidelines to wash your hands often and refrain from handshakes and hugs at all gatherings.
  • We are in constant communication with our faith community partners, cemeteries, hospitals, as well as state and local health officials on steps we can take to help prevent the spread of the virus.

We continue to ask that those at risk or those not feeling well stay home and reach out to the family through our obituary page. If you are attending services, please follow the CDC recommendations. Click here for more information.

These new implementations will be in effect until further notice, and are subject to change as the current situation evolves.

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

(information provided is from the Fema.gov website)

Lastest Update: March 24, 2021 can be read here.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. At FEMA, their mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. They are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.

FEMA is working with stakeholder groups to get their input on ways we can best provide this assistance, and to enlist their help with outreach to families and communities. FEMA will begin to implement COVID-19 funeral assistance in April.

Additional guidance is being finalized and will be released to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible. In the meantime, people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation.

FEMA is working to set up a dedicated toll-free phone number that can be used to apply for funeral assistance.

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for funeral assistance, families must meet these conditions:

*             The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

*             The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.

*             The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.

*             There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.

How to Apply (Families)

In April, FEMA will begin accepting applications. If a family had COVID-19 funeral expenses, types of information should include:

*             An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

*             Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.

*             Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. FEMA is not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.

How are Funds Received?

If families are eligible for funeral assistance they will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option they choose when they apply for assistance.

O’Connor Mortuary is committed to helping families honor their loved ones in meaningful ways, while ensuring the safety of family and friends. If you’re unable to hold a ceremony for your loved one, you do have options.

  1. Have a direct burial attended by immediate family (less than ten persons). Please be aware that certain cemeteries will not allow attendees at all at this time.
  2. Utilize technology to create virtual gatherings via FaceTime or videoconferencing to support one another during this difficult time.

Note that funeral homes have local, state and federal guidelines that need to be followed regarding deaths that occur during this time, with some states banning funerals entirely. There are also guidelines that need to be followed when the individual has died, or may have died, of COVID-19. These guidelines are in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of you, your family, our staff, and the community. Things change on a daily basis, so speak with your funeral director for the most up-to-date information.

As you can imagine, not having the opportunity to hold a traditional funeral or memorial service can be very difficult for family and friends who would benefit from gathering and receiving the support of others as they begin the grief journey. Fortunately, there are still ways you can support them.

  • Check in with grieving family members and friends by giving them a call. Studies show that hearing a human voice is the second most connective experience we have aside from being with other people.
  • Invite stories and say their name. Many people wanting to support bereaved people are worried about making them “more sad” and so avoid the subject of their loved one altogether. This is often far more hurtful than the grief they are already feeling. Ask them about their loved one and share stories of your own. Making personal connections with people who have recently experienced a loss is very beneficial as they begin to adjust to a world without their loved one. In addition, under normal circumstances, grief can be a very isolating experience. It is even more so now, given social distancing guidelines and people choosing to isolate themselves. Staying connected can make all the difference in the world to someone who is grieving.
  • Find the obituary on our website and leave a message or share photos.
  • Make a donation in the individual’s name and include a personal note to the family about your donation.
  • Send the family an email or hand-written letter about a memory you have of the individual or how that individual had an impact on your life.
  • Make an offer to have the family or friends of the loved one over for dinner once social distancing is no longer required. Make sure you remember to follow through on your offer, even if it is months from now.
  • Offer to have food delivered to their home.
  • Send flowers to their home.

The short answer is, significantly.

For most people, having a funeral is an essential part of the grieving process. During a global pandemic, people will continue to feel their grief but will have fewer options to express it and find support. Coupled with the emotional fatigue, anxiety and fear that are rampant right now, grief can seem overwhelming.

The idea of delaying a funeral or memorial ceremony could also be more complicated in some religious traditions. Funerals for Muslims are supposed to take place as quickly as possible, with preparations including washing and shrouding. They represent a transition to the hereafter, and attendance by the deceased’s family is important.

Families must not be deprived of their right to mourn because the timing of the death is overshadowed by circumstances.  Please be assured that we are working to provide alternatives and options to meet the needs of families during their time of loss.

O’Connor Mortuary will adhere to all religious requirements, including shrouding and preparing the deceased. However, due to state and county government restrictions that mandate a distance of at least six feet between persons, the family cannot be present during the preparation of their loved one. These measures are placed in effect to protect you, your family, our staff and the community during this unprecedented global health crisis.

If you want to make your own face mask that you can wear and wash at home take a look at this free printable (more in-depth directions here).

Following these directions you can make your own re-usable mask – saving all other resources for our front-line heroes.

If you would like to make and donate masks, this website offers a few more options/resources AND has information on hospitals taking in homemade masks from volunteers.