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Temporary mortuaries built to hold Covid bodies

Storage: Darent Valley Hospital in Kent is using refrigerated trucks PICTURE: SPLASHNEWS.COM

BODIES are being stored in overflow mortuaries around the country as hospitals run out of room due to the increase in coronavirus deaths.

Some 170 bodies are being kept in the temporary morgue at Headley Court in Leatherhead, which originally opened in April to alleviate pressure during the first wave of the pandemic.

Similar facilities have been built in Lincolnshire and Lancashire and one opened at the site of the Breakspear Crematorium in Ruislip, London.

In Kent, a pop-up morgue for up to 950 bodies is in use in Aylesford. Meanwhile Darent Valley Hospital is using two refrigerated trucks.

Extra room: A tented temporary mortuary has opened in Leatherhead, Surrey PICTURE: LNP

More than half of those kept at the Leatherhead facility died with coronavirus, a Surrey Local Resilience Forum spokesman said.

The county’s hospital mortuaries can store 600 bodies but are currently full. The temporary facility has room for 800, but officials said the county would be in ‘real difficulty’ if the 1,400 capacity is exceeded in coming weeks.

The forum spokesman said: ‘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.

‘Since December 21, after just two-and-a-half weeks, they have had 300 bodies go through it.’

The number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital has reached a record high in England, while the official Covid death toll for the UK passed 80,000 at the weekend and there are 3million lab-confirmed cases.

Oxygen supply at ‘critical levels’ amid rise in cases

A HOSPITAL’s oxygen supply has reached a ‘critical situation’ due to a rising number of Covid-19 infections. Southend University Hospital, in Essex, has had to reduce the amount used to treat patients and cut the range of oxygen levels that should be in Covid sufferers’ blood from 92 per cent to a baseline of 88-92 per cent. Hospital managing director Yvonne Blucher said staff were ‘working to manage’ the situation.