Rise in Unattended Deaths in the Atlanta Metro During COVID-19
With so many people living by themselves throughout the Atlanta area, it is a sad reality that some individuals pass away without anyone else knowing. Especially during this coronavirus pandemic, we are at even greater risk of losing family, friends, and neighbors and not knowing about it for a length of time until the body is discovered.
Most people who pass away as an “unattended death” are either found through a concerned person calling first responders for a wellness check or because of the death odor coming out of the home. Once a call is received, a landlord or first responder will knock on the door then enter the home to check on the situation. If an unattended death is found, the body is removed by a coroner and the police investigate the scene. Once the scene is officially released back to the property owner, the property must be cleaned and decontaminated after coming into contact with bodily fluids produced by the decomposition process.
During this time of COVID-19, more unattended deaths may be occurring, and the resulting damage can be extensive. Here are three circumstances contributing to why:
- People may be sick from the coronavirus: Though the reported numbers of positive COVID-19 cases and resulting deaths are staggeringly high, we know many additional cases are occurring with many deaths unaccounted for. People in your Atlanta neighborhood who live alone may be suffering from the coronavirus and not even now it themselves. If they live alone, they may even pass away with no one knowing about their illness.
- Lack of in-person visits: Under normal circumstances, we visit with our loved ones and neighbors, staying aware of how they are doing and if they are feeling unwell. Now, between the need to keep a safe social distance from each other and not exposing our loved ones, especially older adults with pre-existing health conditions, people may pass away by themselves from causes such as COVID-19, health-related issues, or suicide. Alone in their homes with no regular visitors coming to the door to check on them, it can be quite some time before someone’s body is found and people know they passed away.
- Heat speeds up the process: Now that we are approaching the warmer temperatures of summer here in Atlanta, Georgia, the body decomposition process quickens and more damage is done by the time the body is found. As fluids are released, they follow gravity down into whatever materials lay below the body such as furniture, flooring, and building materials. The longer the time period between death and discovery and the hotter the temperature is in the space where the body lays, the more the body will be decomposed by the time it is found.
Call and check on your loved ones and neighbors
Even though businesses are beginning to reopen here in Atlanta, COVID-19 cases are spiking to new daily highs. With so many people becoming sick and countless people staying home out of fear of catching the coronavirus, we are still at a higher risk of older individuals passing away at home without being found for weeks or even months. In this time, continue to call your loved ones and check on neighbors, especially those you know live by themselves. We all need to know there is somebody outside our four walls who cares about our well-being.
Rely on trained professionals for unattended death cleanup in Atlanta, Georgia
Never let anyone untrained in biohazard cleanup handle the cleaning after an unattended death. Even the smallest amount left behind can have long-lasting consequences and the property owner will be legally liable for all damages. Stick with the professionals who have a proven record in unattended death cleanup so you can protect yourself and others who may one day enter the property.
If you need help cleaning a property after an unattended death, Georgia Clean is always here for you with quality cleanup and decontamination. Working quickly and with powerful tools, we go the extra mile to make sure all biohazards have been removed and the area restored to safe conditions.
You can make a difference in the life of another
While we work to limit the virus and protect those we care for, remember those who may be out of sight for a time. It’s easy to focus on the daily comings and goings in our own lives and lose track of our older friends who live by themselves. Take a moment to check on them today. You may prevent a death by doing so.