Mar 12, 2020
On Friday, March 6, 2020, ASD received notification of a person in our local area who tested positive for COVID-19. The person had traveled to an area outside of our state where the coronavirus was present and is currently quarantined inside her home. To date, this is the only case of COVID-19 that has been reported in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, although the statewide total number of cases has now risen to 21, with most cases occurring in Montgomery county which is one county over from our own.
Upon learning of the coronavirus spread to our local area, ASD has been operating with an abundance of caution in an effort to protect the health and well-being of our employees as well as their families. We are committed to taking any and all measures that will help slow the spread of the virus and ensure that our call center does not become a source of community spread. Currently, our top concern is taking steps to ensure our staff does not contract the virus as we know COVID-9 can pose a deadly threat to seniors and those with preexisting conditions. We care deeply about our employees and are equally concerned about protecting their potentially vulnerable family members.
Below are some of the precautions ASD has taken in response to the coronavirus outbreak:
- Currently, more than 85 percent of our Call Specialist trained staff have the ability to work from home. ASD has instructed everyone with a home computer to work from home for the foreseeable future.
- Previously, ASD provided home computers to any person who had been employed by our company for 9 months or longer. We are currently deploying home computers to 18 more employees who have been with ASD for 6 months or longer. This will bring our home user count to 181.
- ASD has instructed any employee who does not have a home computer not to come to work if they have any symptoms or have been in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19. During this unprecedented time, the safety of our employees is our highest priority, so we are working to reassess our existing attendance policies.
- For employees coming into the office, ASD has implemented new office policies to ensure that every area of the office is sanitized regularly.
- CDC regulations and precautions are posted throughout the office and through our company portal for our staff to review.
- Upon learning of the spread of COVID-19 to our local area, ASD made the decision to postpone our Tips and Tricks Funeral Home Workshop event that was previously scheduled to be held this week. We will be sure to notify everyone when this event will be rescheduled in the future.
ASD will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on our company’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak in the days ahead.
In addition to taking measures to protect our staff, ASD is also fully committed to providing telephone support for funeral homes located in areas of the country that have been greatly impacted by the spread of COVID-19. We know that some funeral homes are on the front lines of this epidemic, responding to death calls for those who were infected with the virus. Others are dealing with issues such as short staffing due to employee illness, funeral service cancellations and an increased number of inquiries from the public.
Below are some of the comments funeral professionals shared with us on Facebook about how the coronavirus is, or may soon be, impacting their funeral home.
“We have a city in Westchester County, NY close to lockdown conditions with the NYS National Guard called in. This is impacting many businesses including funeral homes,” shared Funeral Director, Michelle Meyers of Craft Memorial Home in Port Chester, NY.
“We have been greatly impacted and are very busy right now taking care of these families,” shared Randi Cloud, who is employed at a service care center based out of Seattle. “Just wait, it is going to get worse in many other places.”
“Our worry is if we have a family needing a ship out. Is that going to be a problem with airports being so crazy? Will there be delays for this family? Are price increases going to cause family to decide to not fly thus putting us in the position of losing cooler space?” wrote Colt and Michaela Black of Black’s Funeral Home in Thurmont, MD. “Also, what about supplies that may come from overseas? Not everything a funeral home uses is from overseas, but how will this (virus) affect other aspects?”
“If there is even one [COVID-19] death in your city, I would say that it will have a big impact on your funeral home, your removal team, your prep room, your directors and your meetings with the families,” said Jennifer Berry, Manager of Clairemont Mortuary in San Diego, CA.
Whenever an event occurs that has the potential to unsettle the normal routine of funeral professionals, ASD evaluates how our answering service can provide assistance. Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus, ASD’s level of service has remained consistent these past several weeks with 80 percent of calls answered on the first ring and 96 percent answered by the fourth ring. We can provide telephone support 24/7 to give funeral professionals one less thing to worry about during this chaotic time.
We understand you may be handling an influx of telephone calls due to coronavirus deaths in your local areal, service cancellations, employee call outs, and general inquiries from the public. Whether you need ASD to provide specific instructions or information to callers on your behalf or require assistance handling an overflow of calls, ASD is here to help.
Please don’t hesitate to contact one of our supervisors 24/7 at 800-868-9950 ext 2 or Operations@myASD.com to let us know how we can assist your funeral home.
We’ve included some helpful resource links below for funeral homes looking for guidance or more information about the coronavirus.
Related: ICCFA Cancels Annual Convention
On Wednesday, March 11th, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association announced that it would be cancelling the 2020 ICCFA Annual Convention & Expo that was scheduled for March-30-April 2nd in San Antonio. Click here to read the association’s official statement. While ASD is disappointed by the cancellation of the 2020 ICCFA Convention, we think the association made the right call in deciding not to hold the annual conference in the interest of everyone’s health and safety. We were looking forward to seeing all of our clients and friends in San Antonio, but we completely understand the ICCFA’s decision in light of the recent public health authority information on COVID-19.
About The Author
Jess Farren (Fowler)
Jess Farren (Fowler) is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD’s company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at Jess@myASD.com