Los Angeles County suspends cremation limits because of coronavirus deaths

Grant Boone
January 20, 2021

The Los Angeles County became the first in the USA to surpass 1 million Covid-19 case since the onset of the pandemic early a year ago, local health officials said.

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An air quality agency has granted a temporary waiver on cremation in Los Angeles County.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued the order suspending the cremation limits until January 27, the Modesto Bee reports. More than 13,000 cases are being diagnosed each day, putting a strain on hospitals, according to reports.

The South Coast AQMD said the order lifting cremation regulations would last 10 days but may be extended as the county coroner "anticipates that another surge is approaching as a result of the New Year's holiday since deaths tend to occur 4-6 weeks after gatherings".

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Los Angeles has been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19 cases in recent months, despite overlapping stay-at-home orders from the state, county and city.

L.A. County saw almost 14,700 new cases Saturday and 253 deaths. While they have the capacity to handle more bodies, they were limited by air-quality regulations.

The Guardian reports there are 28 crematoriums in the county.

As the coronavirus's death toll rises, environmental regulators in L.A. County have eased restrictions on the number of cremation performed each month at the request of county health officials. The health department confirmed the more contagious variant was already spreading, with Barbara Ferrer of the state department adding, "The presence of the United Kingdom variant in Los Angeles County is troubling, as our healthcare system is already severely strained with more than 7,500 people now hospitalized". "Our community is bearing the brunt of the winter surge, experiencing huge numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, five-times what we experienced over the summer".

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