Herefordshire Council, like other local authorities across the country, is preparing for an increase in the number of deaths as a result of COVID-19. A temporary mortuary has been created and the facility will act as a secure, dignified holding point before a respectful cremation or burial can take place.

The site at Three Elms is owned by Herefordshire Council and will provide extra capacity to the Wye Valley NHS Trust at Hereford County hospital. The site will not be open to the public and we are working with funeral directors to ensure a safe and respectful process during this difficult time.

Superintendent Sue Thomas, Head of Herefordshire’s emergency response team, said: "Sadly, we know that the number of deaths to coronavirus will rise and we need to be prepared. As part of the government's response, additional mortuary space is being identified in every county. This demonstrates why it remains so important that you reduce your risk of contracting coronavirus and don’t put lives at risk by aiding its spread. Keep washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds, stop unnecessary journeys by staying at home and keep a distance of 2 metres from others if you do need to go out."

Cllr Ange Tyler, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regulatory Services, and Community Safety, said: “We are making these arrangements in a sensitive and measured way to let people know that we are thinking ahead, but appreciate this is enormously difficult for all of us to contemplate. We hope we never have to use it. We must all do as much as we possibly can to ensure we prevent the spread of Coronavirus and within our families and throughout the community.”

Herefordshire Council is working closely with funeral directors and faiths across the county to provide them with support and information that they will need to help guide grieving families.

It is crucial that we all observe government guidance. Keep washing your hands regularly, stop unnecessary journeys by staying at home and keep a distance of 2 metres with others if you do need to go out.

You can keep up-to-date with how the Coronavirus is affecting council services by visiting

Published: 8th April 2020