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Red Cross offers virtual assistance to those coping with loss from COVID-19

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(WBNG) -- According to the CDC, there have been nearly 70,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States. In the midst of this mass casualty event, the Red Cross has launched a virtual Family Assistance Center to help those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.

"Many people can't be with their loved one as they die, when they die, and that is horrible for families," said Tara Hughes, a disaster mental health advisor for the Northeast Division of the Red Cross. "Then they have to immediately shift into trying to work these processes and figuring out, 'What am I going to do?'"

Hughes says the program has 30 volunteers specially trained in mental health and spiritual care. They can offer guidance on funeral services, legal resources, travel services, and more.

"Our program is about support, and that support is on an emotional level and sometimes on a spiritual level as well," said Hughes.

Volunteers will be assigned to each case, offering guidance through every step of the process. Hughes says all information will remain confidential, and volunteers are highly committed to offering as much help as possible.

"The volunteers we have are amazing people and they have been stepping up to the plate to do this," said Hughers. "Volunteers can stick with them, really, until they have supported them through the processes they and their family are going through."

To apply to the program, you can visit the links below:

If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call the Family Assistance Center at 585-957-8187.

Hughes says a Red Cross volunteer should reach on the same day an application has been filed.

Katie Jones

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