Dorset Mortality Support Facility opens amid rising COVID deaths

covidONE of two Mortality Support Facilities (MSF) will be activated this week as part of Dorset’s ongoing response to the current COVID-19 emergency.

Over the last two weeks, the number of cases and deaths due to COVID-19 in Dorset has increased rapidly.

The NHS is facing tremendous pressure including on mortuary provision, and it has been agreed to activate the Poole port site to help with the number of deaths that they are seeing.

The facilities are part of the Excess Deaths Operational Plan, a multi-agency strategy that sees representatives from Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (BCP) Council, Dorset Council, HM Coroner, Dorset Police, University Hospitals Dorset Foundation Trust, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and funeral directors working together to make sure the potential bereavement needs across the county are identified and met.

Cllr Nicola Greene, portfolio holder for COVID-19 Resilience and Public Health at BCP Council, said: “Sadly, this is one of the contingencies we are having to put in place.

“Our hospitals continue to be under a huge amount of pressure, with over 550 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Dorset in the last reported figures. The recent rise in cases in our community has meant that heartbreakingly, we have also seen an increase in deaths.

“We hoped that we wouldn’t need to use this extra capacity, but it is now required.

“It is absolutely vital that we all continue to follow the rules and stay at home. Remember that one in three people with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms. Only leave home for one of the permitted reasons, so we can protect our NHS services and save lives.”

Councillor Spencer Flower, leader of Dorset Council, added: “We appreciate that this topic is a difficult one for everyone, but the devastating impacts of this disease are now being felt.

“Please remember to socially distance, wear a mask when required and wash hands regularly. Together we can help to beat this horrible disease and get back to normal as soon as possible, by everyone playing their part and sticking to the rules.

“We want  to reassure residents that the activation of this Mortality Support Facility is being established as part of our duty to respond to the current situation and we will make sure that loved ones are treated with care and respect.”

While death figures have increased in recent weeks, case numbers locally are decreasing and no coronavirus-related deaths were reported in the Lyme Regis, Charmouth and Marshwood Vale area from March to December 2020.

Find more information about registering deaths and funerals in the Dorset Council area, during this pandemic.

Anyone grieving and in need help and support can contact Cruse Bereavement Care or call their helpline on 0808 808 1677.

Woodmead Halls

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