Anyone who has died in San Francisco must be tested for COVID-19 with a nasal swab. The test is free. We will ask for email addresses or phone numbers of loved ones and caregivers. If the test is positive, we will contact them. See more information about this testing requirement.
Decedents with COVID-19 can be buried or cremated locally through a licensed state provider. See the consumer guide from the CA Cemetery and Funeral Bureau to verify a license.
The Medical Examiner is able to issue a letter of non-contagion for air or international transportation of the remains of individuals, if they tested negative for COVID-19. You can ask your funeral home or email email@example.com to get a letter of non-contagion.
Follow standard precautions
Follow routine infection prevention and control precautions when handling a decedent who died of COVID-19.
Additional precautions for COVID-19
Wear disposable nitrile gloves when handling body bags.
When transporting a body after bagging, disinfect the outside of the bag with a product approved by the EPA to use against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, including concentrations, application method, and contact time.
Use personal protective equipment (PPE) if you expect fluids to splash.
After you remove PPE, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Getting specimens for COVID-19 testing
CDC recommendations for collecting specimens can be followed by:
- Medical examiners
- Other workers involved in providing postmortem care
- Local and state health departments