With over 10,000 coronavirus-related fatalities in New York City over the last few weeks, the New York City Department of Health has been facing an unprecedented volume of requests for death certificates. Hoping to streamline the process, the DOH has begun issuing death certificates only through its eVital electronic filing system, eliminating paper certificates completely at this time.
The DOH rolled out eVital in October 2018 and while many doctors have signed up for the system which issues electronic death certificates, a large number have not, particularly within our community and have been continuing to issue hand-written death certificates. Because the coronavirus outbreak has had the DOH providing only limited service for those applying for burial permits with paper death certificates, delays of as many as five or six hours have been common, pushing off all burials, with some Friday kevuras postponed until after Shabbos and delaying burial for those being flown out of New York for interment.
Misaskim founder and CEO Yanky Meyer, who has spent hours assisting those with paper death certificates, said not having the paperwork prepared through eVital has brought additional heartache to grieving families and has been detracting from kavod hameis. Meyer noted that the issue can be easily avoided by having all New York City doctors register with eVital, a relatively short process that can prevent hours-long disasters for those who suffer the loss of a family member.
“We urge every doctor in New York City to register with eVital and every member of our community to remind their physician to sign up for the system because just a few minutes invested now can make a world of difference later on,” said Meyer. “Having seen so much heartache and aggravation caused by this problem, we are begging every doctor in our community to take a few minutes and register with eVital.”