Two West Virginia COVID-19 cases linked to attending funerals

Published: Mar. 22, 2020 at 6:43 PM EDT
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Kanawha County health officials say two of West Virginia's positive cases of COVID-19 are linked to those patients attending funerals and coming in contact with someone else who was carrying the coronavirus.

In response, Kanawha-Charleston Health Director Dr. Sherri Young has recommended all area funerals be limited to just 10 people during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We want to be very sensitive and very cognizant of the fact how difficult this could be to families," Young said. "However, what we have seen, two of the cases we have seen in our area had traveled to areas for funerals. This is a direct exposure and a direct link that we can see that we need to put this policy in place here to prevent the spread."

Young sent the recommendation in a letter Sunday to Kanawha County funeral directors.

The letter comes days after Dr. Young recommended limiting faith-based gatherings such as weddings and church services.

"A worse tragedy would to go to someone's funeral and now we have people hospitalized as a result of going to that funeral," Young said.

Dr. Young said it was a tough call to make, but adds it is needed to stop the spread of COVID-19. She has been working with funeral directors to begin offering online streams of services and talk with families about possibly postponing memorials until after the pandemic ends.