New York (ONN) – Officials were back at a Brooklyn funeral home this week after it was reported that there were four trucks containing up to 60 bodies onsite, with nowhere for them to go.
CNN reports that the Andrew Cleckley Funeral Home was under investigation by The Department of Environmental Protection, who had issued two summonses to the owner, asking for the bodies to be identified. With New York hit hard by the pandemic, and doctors working long hours to cope with demand, the community has faced one of the toughest battles nationwide – with over 25,000 deaths reported as of May 6th.
New York City followed by Nassau and Suffolk, has seen the highest number of cases so far. Exacerbating the problem has been shortages of medical supplies and protective masks for doctors where there have been additional casualties from COVID-19 that may have been preventable.
The Andrew Cleckley Funeral Home was unable to process the number of bodies it was receiving quickly enough – forcing the owner to store bodies in trucks, which led to complaints about odors in the nearby area.
Law enforcement confirmed that the bodies were awaiting cremation however one of the trucks was not refrigerated which could potentially have been the source of the odors when initial reports had been filed.
New York State proceeded to suspend the license for the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral home while an investigation continues. And in response to the crisis, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced this Monday that a Bereavement Task Force would be set up including faith leaders, funeral home directors, and morgue operators to find “policy solutions” to resolve the mounting problem. This included an announcement of more personal protective equipment being distributed to all funeral homes and cemeteries.
In addition, the task force is also making sure there is help for families and will be providing multilingual support to the communities affected.