Council to build temporary mortuary for 'significant number' of expected coronavirus deaths in Bristol
BRISTOL City Council is to build a temporary mortuary in case the city suffers a surge in deaths due to the coronavirus.
Work to build the facility, at the council’s Sandy Park depot, off Sandy Park Road in Brislington, is due to start tomorrow.
The announcement comes as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bristol passes 200, totalling 211 as of this morning.
The mortuary will be built on a car park inside the depot site, which is secure and surrounded by high walls to ensure privacy.
It will include six covered refrigerated containers, with a capacity for up to 240 bodies - the city's current capacity, excluding funeral directors, is 384.
Construction is due to be completed by the end of the week.
The council says the facility will protect the dignity of Bristol people who could lose their lives to coronavirus in the coming weeks and is in line with its emergency response plans.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, above, said: “We’re faced with a heart-breaking but necessary task, to ensure our city is fully prepared in the next few weeks.
“Unfortunately, the sad reality is that we are likely to see a significant number of people lose their lives to coronavirus and we must be ready to ensure we deal with that in the most dignified and sensitive way possible so we can respect the deceased and their families.
“We are following national guidance, and building a temporary mortuary will be similar to a number of others planned around the country, as we all come to terms with the tragic implications of this crisis.
“Thank you to everyone in Bristol – for your sensitivity and understanding while we make these difficult decisions and as we pull together to support the city’s response to the pandemic.”
The council says restrictions will be in place to protect staff based at Sandy Park, who will be offered continued emotional support.
Apart from temporary construction work, which is expected to last three days, the council say the facility will not affect residents living nearby and will be “discreetly concealed”.