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Boise funeral home: decrease in COVID-19 deaths noticeable for staff and families they serve

For the first time in months, Cloverdale Funeral Home isn't storing any bodies inside the refrigerated trailer brought in to increase capacity.

BOISE, Idaho — More than two months after crisis standards of care were activated statewide in Idaho, most of the state is now exiting crisis standards because of decreasing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Cloverdale Funeral Home in Boise is noticing the sharp decline in COVID-related deaths -- a stark contrast from September, when some bodies were being stored in a refrigerated trailer because the funeral home was running out of space.

"Today is one of the few days since last month where our additional refrigeration that we had brought in is actually empty right now,” said Dave Salove, Managing Partner at Cloverdale Funeral Home and Cremation.

In September, the funeral home was seeing 40 percent of deaths coming in as COVID related. As of November 23, only ten percent of the deceased people brought there have passed from COVID. As of Tuesday, six COVID-related deaths were reported by the funeral home.

"It's better now where we are able to tell folks that we are going to be able to have their loved one return to them as cremated remains in a normal period of time, as opposed to two or three weeks," Salove said.

 According to the State of Idaho's coronavirus website, the number of COVID-related deaths has dropped in the past month. On November 19, the state reported one COVID-related death, something that hasn’t been seen since July.

"Well it's something that I think is a good day, I don't think that any of us wanted to continue to see it fill and fill and fill,” Salove said.

While the trailer was never full, at times there were 15-20 bodies inside.

Salove said the funeral home's operations in November are looking more normal than in recent months. The hope is for that to continue.

"We went through about 60 days of unrelenting new deaths -- every day, multiple deaths. There was a time where we were behind meeting with families -- 12 or 15 families having to wait -- and that's a very hard thing to do for us because we don't like families having to wait more than a day or so,” he said. "For our staff, it's been a good thing to try to get back to normal a little bit."

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