California COVID-19 deaths cause air quality agency to lift limit on cremations

The Los Angeles County coroner's office and health department requested the region's air quality agency to suspend its usual limit on cremations due to a lack of storage space for those who have died of COVID-19, CBS Los Angeles reported Jan. 18. 

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued the emergency order to suspend cremation limits Jan. 17, noting that more than 2,700 bodies were stored across area hospitals and the coroner's office as of Jan. 15. 

"The current rate of death is more than double that of pre-pandemic years, leading to hospitals, funeral homes, and crematoriums exceeding capacity without the ability to process the backlog of cases," the order said.

The order will remain in effect through at least Jan. 27. 

Los Angeles County became the first county to hit 1 million COVID-19 cases Jan. 16. As of Jan. 18, more than 21,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across California, according to data from The Atlantic's COVID-19 Tracking Project. 

More articles on public health:
Arizona's COVID-19 battle could soon push hospitals into 'crisis zone'
22 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Jan. 19
States ranked by percentage of COVID-19 vaccines administered


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