Temporary Leeds mortuary for Covid deaths now being used to store bodies

Bodies are now being stored at an emergency mortuary which was created to help hospitals cope with the rise in deaths as a result of Covid-19.

Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 5:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 5:22 pm

It is now being used to store bodies, a council spokesman confirmed.

Yesterday (Tuesday), Leeds hospitals recorded 12 further deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Waterside Industrial Park, Stourton (photo: Google).

Office for National Statistics data shows there have been a total of 1,240 deaths recorded in Leeds where the death certificate mentioned Covid-19 as one of the causes.

A council spokesman said: “We mobilised and started to use the temporary mortuary towards the end of 2020 to relieve pressure on hospital mortuary provision.”

The decision to build the mortuary was not subject to the council’s normal decision-making channels, as a report at the time said any unnecessary delay “may severely impact on the city’s ability to deal with the anticipated increase in mortality rates as a consequence of the Covid-19 outbreak.”

The document added: “As part of the emergency planning in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the City Council is making preparations for the provision of a temporary mortuary to support existing facilities in the city.”.

The report stated: “Given the urgency of the nature of the works it was vital that Authority to Spend of £800,000 be approved so that an initial order (to the value of £306,000 rounded) could be placed with Airedale Catering Equipment Ltd, in order to secure the manufacture and installation of the equipment to allow delivery to site during week commencing 13 April 2020, so that the temporary facility is available to support existing mortuary facilities in the city as soon as possible.”

Coun Elizabeth Nash (Lab), represents the Hunslet and Riverside ward where the facility will be set up, said in April: “It is out of the way, and most people will not know it’s there.

“But I do think the whole of Leeds has to know about this because some people still aren’t taking the virus seriously and listening to advice.

“It’s very grisly, but it has to be done.”