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COVID-19 Fatality Management Resources
Topic Collection
July 29, 2020

Topic Collection: COVID-19 Fatality Management Resources

This Topic Collection focuses on plans, tools, templates, and other immediately implementable resources to help with COVID-19 preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts, focusing on fatality management.

Please refer to CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 webpage for the most up-to-date clinical guidance on COVID19 outbreak management.

If you have COVID-19 best or promising practices, plans, tools, or templates to share with your peers, please visit the ASPR TRACIE Information Exchange COVID-19 Information Sharing Page (registration required) and place your resources under the relevant topic area. Resources specific to Fatality Management can be placed under the COVID-19 Fatality Management Resources Topic.

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This ASPR TRACIE Technical Assistance Response includes links to information on handling and viewing the remains of a deceased COVID-19 patient as well as planning resources for mass fatality management.
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COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Task Force. (2020). COVID-19 Hospital Resource Package.
This document lists key COVID-19 guidance and resources for hospital administrators, hospital emergency planners, and infection control practitioners in the following topical areas: hospital surge, crisis standards of care, staffing surge and resilience, workforce protection, regulatory relief, equipment supply surge, and telemedicine. Each section contains links to Federal and non-Federal guidance to help hospitals prepare for and respond to a COVID-19 outbreak.
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Independent Funeral Directors of Florida. (2020). Funeral Home COVID-19 Policy Samples.
This site provides examples of various policies from funeral homes across the country regarding public visitations or services and social distancing requirements specific to COVID-19.
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Lee Health. (2020). COVID-19 Deceased Patient Algorithm. (Added 4/15/2020.)
This algorithm shows one health system's protocol for managing deceased patients with COVID-19.
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Behavioral Health and Resilience


This tip sheet describes stress management techniques for leaders and supervisors of mortuary and death care workers during COVID-19.
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This tip sheet describes stress management techniques for mortuary and death care workers during COVID-19.
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This document includes tips and general guidance on how to reduce negative behavioral health impacts for death care workers in a COVID-19 environment.
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Guidelines and Protocols


British Columbia Ministry of Health. (2020). Safe Handling of Bodies of Deceased Persons with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19. (Added 5/29/2020.)
This document from a Canadian province provides guidance to workers safely and respectfully handling the remains of persons with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Collection and Submission of Postmortem Specimens from Deceased Persons with Known or Suspected COVID-19. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This guidance is for medical examiners, coroners, pathologists, and others involved in postmortem care of deceased persons under investigation for COVID-19. It includes information on collection and submission of postmortem specimens, biosafety and infection control practices, autopsy procedures, and transportation of human remains.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). FAQs for Medicolegal Death Investigators.
This webpage includes responses to frequently asked questions regarding the investigation of sudden, unexpected, and unnatural deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Funeral Home Workers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention share guidance for funeral home workers charged with handling decedents with COVID-19.
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Indiana Department of Health. (2020). COVID-19 Guidance for Coroners.
This guidance provides information on autopsy procedures; infection control practices; collection, preparation, and submission of postmortem specimens; cleaning and waste disposal; transportation of human remains; death reporting; and frequently asked questions specific to patients who died from COVID-19.
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Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19) Death Report Form.
This form is an example of information healthcare providers are required to report to one county health department on COVID-19 associated deaths.
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Minnesota Department of Health. (2020). COVID-19 Mortuary Science Funeral Industry Guidance.
This document provides guidance on funerals, memorials, visitations, and graveside services during the COVID-19 emergency.
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National Center for Health Statistics. (2020). Guidance for Certifying Deaths Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). (Added 4/17/2020.) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This document provides guidance on how to report cause of death on death certificates for COVID-19 cases. The document details what to include in each section of the death certificate and includes an appendix with three different scenarios for additional information.
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Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2020). Postmortem Care Workers and Employers. U.S. Department of Labor.
This guidance document offers recommendations to protect the safety and health of postmortem care workers and employers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Osborn, M., Lucas, S., Stewart, R., et al. (2020). Autopsy Practice Relating to Possible Cases of COVID-19 (2019-nCov, novel coronavirus from China 2019/2020). The Royal College of Pathologists.
This document provides guidance for mortuary staff on personal protective equipment (PPE) and handling considerations and diagnosis of COVID-19 at post-mortem examination.
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This document guides mortuary and funeral home workers in the handling of deceased persons with COVID-19.
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Lessons Learned


Federal Emergency Management Agency. (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Mass Casualty Management. U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
This document offers best practices related to mass casualty management. It includes key considerations, lessons learned from mass casualty operations, death determination, identification of temporary storage sites, and management of contagious contaminated remains.
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Federal Emergency Management Agency. (2020). COVID-19 Best Practice Information: Alternate Funeral Arrangements. U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
This document identifies potential best practices based on lessons learned in organizing alternate funeral arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Plans, Tools, and Templates


California Hospital Association. (2008). Hospital Mass Fatality Plan (Checklist).
This checklist guides development or an update to an existing hospital mass fatality plan.
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This annex to Colorado's COVID-19 plan informs the state's coordinated recovery, storage, transportation, processing, identification, final dispositions of remains, and death notification activities.
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Greater New York Hospital Association. (2020). NYC Mass Fatality Management Guidance.
This webpage (specific to New York City) includes links to information on body collection, a survey designed to maintain morgue census, and guidance on reporting COVID-19-related deaths.
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Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency (2013). Mass Fatality Management Guide for Healthcare Entities.
This planning document was created to help healthcare partners develop a detailed mass fatality plan. It provides a framework for mass fatality management during events of all sizes, including large-scale disasters (earthquakes); smaller, more localized incidents (explosion, shooting); and long-term events (widespread disease outbreaks). It is organized into two primary components, a base guide and appendices. The base guide provides step-by-step directions in the development of mass fatality plans, and the appendices include supplemental resources to aid in plan development.
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Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency. (2020). Mass Fatality Management Plan Template.
This template provides a framework to develop or refine a healthcare facility's mass fatality management plan. For additional details, planners may refer to the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency Mass Fatality Management Guide for Healthcare Entities.
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Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Fatality Management Tabletop Exercise. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This coronavirus fatality management tabletop exercise can be used by government, private sector, and nonprofit organizations. Access the Situational Manual here: https://files.asprtracie.hhs.gov/documents/covid19-fatality-management-ttx-sitman-25march2020-508.docx. The Situation Manual provides exercise participants with a hypothetical scenario that depicts numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths at the state, regional, and national levels over a period of 40 days and includes discussion questions regarding the following topics: coordination of fatality management operations; information collection and reporting; legal and regulatory considerations; supply chains and resource management; infection control; continuity of operations; mental and behavioral health services; and public messaging and risk communications. The accompanying slide deck provides an overview of the scenario to set the stage for discussion.
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Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 Fatality Management Tabletop Exercise Situation Manual. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This Situation Manual and accompanying slide deck (available at https://files.asprtracie.hhs.gov/documents/covid19-fatalitymanagement-ttx-facilitation-deck-25march2020-508.pptx) are designed to assist government, private sector, and nonprofit organizations in identifying issues or challenges that may arise when conducting fatality management operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Situation Manual provides exercise participants with a hypothetical scenario that depicts numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths at the state, regional, and national levels over a period of 40 days and includes discussion questions regarding the following topics: coordination of fatality management operations; information collection and reporting; legal and regulatory considerations; supply chains and resource management; infection control; continuity of operations; mental and behavioral health services; and public messaging and risk communications. The accompanying slide deck provides an overview of the scenario to set the stage for discussion.
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Agencies and Organizations


International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners. COVID-19 Info.
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International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association. Coronavirus and the Deathcare Profession.
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National Funeral Directors Association. Situation Update: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
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