Hospital mortuaries in Surrey have reached capacity amid soaring Covid-19 case rates, meaning bodies are now having to be stored at a temporary facility.
Some 170 bodies are being kept in the temporary mortuary at Headley Court in Leatherhead, which first opened in April to alleviate pressure during the first wave of the pandemic.
More than half of those kept at the facility died with coronavirus, a Surrey Local Resilience Forum spokesperson said.
The county’s hospital mortuaries have the capacity to store 600 bodies but are currently full, while the temporary facility has room for 800.
The Surrey Local Resilience Forum spokesperson said the county would be left in “real difficulty” if the 1,400 capacity is exceeded in the coming weeks.
“To put some perspective on this, during the first wave, they had 700 bodies go through that (temporary) facility," the spokesperson said.
“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 coronavirus death toll for the UK passed 80,000 at the weekend and lab-confirmed cases hit more than three million.
Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 97,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.