LA Suspends Environmental Regs on Crematoriums Over COVID-19

LA Suspends Environmental Regs on Crematoriums Over COVID-19 a covered casket is half in the sun, half in the shade, under and overhang. A covered empty casket stands in a garage at the Boyd Funeral Home during a surge of Covid-19 deaths on Jan. 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

By Brian Trusdell | Monday, 18 January 2021 07:30 PM

Government officials in Los Angeles have temporarily suspended environmental restrictions on the number of cremations that can be performed in the county due to the number of bodies backlogged due to deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District on Sunday issued an emergency order for 10 days to “suspend certain permit conditions for crematories.”

The AQMD limits the number of cremations of human remains that may be performed per crematorium each month, depending upon air quality.

The order, signed by AQMD Executive Officer Wayne Nastri, specifies that the number of deaths in Los Angeles is “more than double pre-pandemic years” and that officials anticipate “another surge is approaching as a result of the New Year’s holiday.”

It claimed that as of Friday, more than “2,700 bodies are currently being stored at hospitals and the Coroner’s office” and that “the 28 crematories in Los Angeles County have the resources and capability to perform more cremations.” However, they “cannot due to regulatory limits.”

The crematorium must be located within Los Angeles County, or have an agreement with the Los Angeles County Coroner, provide written notice via email to the AQMD about its intent to exceed its limits, and is within 15% of reaching one of its “applicable limits.”

Although set to expire at midnight on Jan. 27, the order can be extended.

While California has the most reported cases of infection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 (more than 3 million) and the second-most deaths (33,650), it has the 26th-most cases per capita and the 39th-most deaths per capita, according to worldometers.info.