Bodies are being stored at a temporary facility in Surrey after the county’s hospital mortuaries reached capacity amid record Covid cases and hospital admissions.
Some 170 bodies are being kept in the temporary mortuary at Headley Court in Leatherhead, which first opened in April to ease pressure during the first wave.
More than half of those kept at the facility died with coronavirus. The county’s hospital mortuaries have the capacity to store 600 bodies but are currently full, while the temporary facility has room for 800.
A spokesman for the Surrey Local Resilience Forum said the county would be left in ‘real difficulty’ if the 1,400 capacity is exceeded in the coming weeks.
He said, “To put some perspective on this, during the first wave, they had 700 bodies go through that (temporary) facility.”
The first wave lasted approximately 12 weeks from mid-March to mid-May.
The number of Covid hospital patients has reached a record high in England, while the official coronavirus death toll for the UK passed 80,000 at the weekend and lab-confirmed cases hit more than three million.
As of Sunday, a further 563 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid, bringing the UK total to 81,431.
It comes as England’s chief medical officer warned the next few weeks will be the ‘worst’ of the pandemic for the NHS.