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Message From DSHS on Expediting Death Certifications

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To facilitate the COVID-19 health emergency response, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) are requesting that medical certifiers expedite completion of death certificates through the end of August. Texas statute requires that medical certifiers sign death certificates in 10 business days; on average, COVID death certificates are being completed with DSHS in nine days. However, due to the number of COVID fatalities, funeral homes and local jurisdictions note increasing difficulty in managing their capacity for safely storing remains until burial or cremation can take place.

TDEM and DSHS are supporting local communities in their fatality management by providing morgue trailers to increase capacity. TDEM and DSHS are asking medical certifiers to also help by completing death certificates as quickly as possible through the end of August. This assistance will better ensure that Texas can safely manage COVID remains during this surge of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities.