WHITTIER, CA (KABC) — The surge of COVID-19 deaths in Los Angeles County has created a backlog of burials at the largest cemetery in North America.
Officials at Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary say their burial process, which usually takes five to seven days after a death, is now stretching to more than a month.
“The whole system is under stress at the moment so everything is just taking longer than normal,” explained Rose Hills president Patrick Monroe. “After the Thanksgiving holiday we began to see our daily call volume nearly double.”
The Whittier cemetery covers 2,500 acres but is still scrambling to handle the wave of burials caused by the pandemic.
One family caught up in the pandemic’s wave of heartache: the Lopez Marquez family from South Gate. Their father, Manuel Lopez Marquez, died from COVID-19 last week, and the family is learning they may not be able to have his services and burial for another month and a half.
“When we called the cemetery, we were 102 on the waiting line and it took about six to seven hours to get through to the mortuary,” Elvira Marquez said.
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