Temporary morgue at RAF Henlow being prepared as coronavirus situation 'extremely serious' in Bedfordshire

Volunteers have once again been mobilised for the temporary morgue at RAF Henlow as the coronavirus situation in Bedfordshire remains "extremely serious".

By Stewart Carr
Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 12:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 1:06 pm

The temporary morgue is an arrangement jointly managed by the three local authorities in the county - Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Luton Borough Council - to help cope with demand.

It was first used in April 2020 during the first lockdown to help relieve Bedfordshire’s two hospitals.

After a long period of inaction, it is again being prepared for "readiness" and volunteers from the health sector have been contacted about returning to the site for shifts.

RAF Henlow is the site of Bedfordshire's temporary morgue

A spokesman from Luton Borough Council said: “While the situation is currently extremely serious, there is still sufficient capacity at the existing hospital facilities. Whilst it is not currently being used, RAF Henlow is being placed in a state of readiness.

"In order to reduce the probability of it being needed, the council urges everyone without exception in the community to follow the basic safety measures of Hands – Face – Space, to stay at home as much as possible, to be tested and to self-isolate when necessary.”

When the facility originally opened last spring, health authorities were keen to stress that the army facility would employ the same professional standards as a hospital.

Speaking at that time, Muriel Scott, director of public health in Bedfordshire, said: “In order to protect the dignity and respect of those who have lost their lives, the temporary resting place will be similar to the hospitals’, with trained staff and security in place to ensure loved ones can safely remain there until funerals take place.”