Covid cases rise but no plans to reopen temporary Essex mortuary

Essex County Council

Essex County Council - Credit: Archant

There are no plans to reopen a temporary mortuary – despite a rise in coronavirus cases and deaths in Essex.

Data shows that 36 people died in Essex hospitals from Covid-19 between November 11, 2020 and January 5, 2021.

Nine of those were in Basildon and Thurrock, seven in Mid Essex Hospital and East Suffolk and North Essex hospitals, one in Essex Partnership Hospitals, six in Southend Hospital and Princess Alexandra in Harlow.

In the seven days to December 31 – the latest date for which complete data is available – there were 15,474 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Essex.

In the same period, the weekly case rate for Essex was 1,039 per 100,000.

The highest weekly case rates were in Epping Forest and Castle Point, with rates of 1,321.9 and 1,326.3 per 100,000, respectively.

The trajectory is worse compared to the lockdown in March when a temporary mortuary was set up at Chelmer Park and Ride in Chelmsford to deal with excess deaths from coronavirus.

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The temporary mortuary, which Essex County Council allocated £10 million to run, was to serve Essex, Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea for the management of excess deaths as a result of Covid-19. It was closed down in the summer without ever having been used.

The council has now said there are no plans to reopen it.

An Essex County Council spokesperson said: “No additional mortuary capacity has been created in Essex other than that put in place during wave one at hospitals in Essex.

“This extra capacity remains in place.”