CAPE CORAL — On Thursday morning, Lee Health reported that 10 more people died of COVID-19 in its hospitals Wednesday.
That makes 870 COVID-19 deaths in Lee Health hospitals since the pandemic began, and now several funeral homes tell us they’re seeing more families than ever come through their doors.
At Mullins Memorial, owner Shannon Mullins said it’s never been this busy.
"Some nights, we’re getting seven or eight deaths in a night, and that’s a lot," said Mullins.
He said they’re seeing about double the number of families they saw at this same time last year, and he’s making changes to accommodate them.
“We’re going to be replacing our crematorium here for a machine that’s more technologically advanced, and it can handle more decedents on a daily basis, and those were not decisions that we entered the year thinking we were going to do," said Mullins.
Over at Fuller-Metz funeral home, they’re facing many of the same challenges.
“This August, the month that we’re in now, has been the highest volume of deaths that we have received, and we still have a week left to go," said Manager Tim Hauck.
At both companies, we learned some of those deaths are young people.
"We cared for a mother daughter, had a double funeral for a mother daughter that passed away within two days of one another. The youngest person I’ve cared for this month is 30," said Mullins.
“We’re seeing these deaths, we’re experiencing these deaths, we’re hearing the stories from the families. It’s a real thing," said Hauck.
We also learned Cape Coral Hospital has actually brought in an external morgue to deal with the influx in new COVID-19 deaths.
There is also a program through FEMA that offers financial assistance if you're having trouble paying for cremation services. To learn more, click here.