Topeka funeral homes overwhelmed as coronavirus deaths rise

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – As coronavirus deaths rise in Shawnee County, employees at Newcomer Funeral Service Group are becoming overwhelmed, according to President Ren Newcomer.

Since March, all four of their funeral homes in Topeka have been seeing deaths related to the virus. However, in the last few weeks it’s become worse, according to Ren.

“It’s also stressing the funeral service providers in our community,” Ren said.

In the month of November, 43 deaths have occurred due to the coronavirus. This is a jump from 28 deaths in October, according to the Shawnee County Health Department.

This increase has caused Ren to become concerned for his own family, who works by his side, as well as his employee’s safety, being around coronavirus victims and their families.

His largest concern, is his employee’s overwhelming surge in work.

“What we do happens 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said John Newcomer, vice president of Newcomer Funeral Service Group and son to Ren. “Taking care of the deceased, it doesn’t have a holiday, it doesn’t take a break over the weekends. So any increase in the number of deceased and the families that we’re caring for adds stress to their day-to-day.”

Ren’s staff have begun sharing responsibilities in order to have adequate time off, as well as ensuring their customers are satisfied.

After seeing coronavirus death after death, Ren asks the community to abide by the health guidelines, and perhaps save a life.

“The sadness of what we see in the funeral business are those that are passing of COVID-related illnesses that maybe are passing away unexpectedly or before their turn,” Ren said.

As for the future, the group is planning to take it day by day to see what actions may need to be taken to keep their staff, and services, top notch.

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