This Guidance is
no longer in effect and is for historical purposes only.
This document is intended to provide guidance for preventing infection in funeral establishments and the workers who handle deceased persons with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the illness caused by SARS-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). SARS-CoV-2 can cause severe and fatal respiratory illness, but approximately 80 percent of cases are mild. Asymptomatic cases may still be infectious.
The best prevention is frequent handwashing with soap and water. COVID-19 is most often spread by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory infections spread. Transmission from respiratory droplets is not a concern when handling human remains or performing postmortem procedures. However, funeral establishment workers and others who handle decedents should take precautions to avoid contact with potentially infectious bodily fluids and inhalable aerosols during transfers and embalming.
This guidance recommends additional protective measures and equipment to best protect funeral establishment workers and others who handle decedents. When a death occurs due to COVID-19, no funeral director or embalmer shall charge any additional fees for handling or embalming a decedent. 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommend using a combination of standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions, and eye protection (e.g., goggles or face shields) to protect funeral establishment workers and others who handle decedents from exposure to the virus. The Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard requires respiratory protection during aerosol-generating procedures.
Funeral establishment and other workers who have contact with the remains of people who have died from COVID-19 infection must be protected from exposure to infected blood and bodily fluids, fecal material, contaminated objects, and contaminated environmental surfaces.
At a minimum, funeral establishment and other workers should:
COVID-19 could potentially be transmitted by infectious aerosols generated when suctioning bodily fluids or doing other aerosol generating procedures. If aerosol generating procedures are anticipated, refer to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance for postmortem specimens from deceased persons under investigation for COVID-19 for information on procedures that should be avoided, additional safety precautions, ventilation requirements, and respiratory protection.
Embalming can be conducted. In the preparation room, make sure the ventilation fan is on and use a ventilated table if available. During embalming, follow Standard Precautions including the use of additional personal protective equipment (PPE) if splashing is expected (e.g., disposable gown, plastic apron, face shield or goggles, and waterproof boots or shoe covers). Embalming involves the aspiration of blood and other body fluids from the body which results in the generation of aerosols. Wear respiratory protection for procedures that generate aerosols and if required for chemicals. For protection against respirable aerosols, wear a surgical N95 filtering face piece respirator, an elastomeric respirator equipped with N95 or P-100 filters, or a powered air purifying respirator equipped with HEPA filters. If a respirator is not obtainable, wear a surgical mask. Wear heavy-duty gloves over nitrile disposable gloves if there is a risk of cuts, puncture wounds, or other injuries that break the skin.
Decedents with COVID-19 can be buried or cremated.
Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant for routine cleaning and disinfection. Follow the instructions on the label and disinfect all equipment and surfaces potentially contaminated with infectious fluids, including the body bag. Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory protection following the disinfectant instructions for use.
 This includes cemeteries, crematories, and
decedent transportation providers. California Business and Professions Code Section 7685.1