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'The Sanctum' temporary mortuary is blessed by faith leaders

17 April 2020

The Sanctum temporary mortuary will be blessed today (Friday 17 April) by the Island’s faith leaders.

The temporary mortuary will only be used under a worst case scenario, as an extension to the Island’s mortuary services, if the rate of deaths from COVID-19 increases dramatically and rapidly.

The site, at the far end of Bellozanne Valley, has been selected by the co-ordinating group responsible for the appropriate, sympathetic and professional management of any excess deaths resulting from the pandemic. The group includes representatives from government, Health and Community Services, States of Jersey Police, the Deputy Viscount, the Superintendent Registrar, faith groups and the Island's funeral directors.  

The Chair of the Co-ordinating Group, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Beechey, said: “Under a worst case scenario, the Sanctum will provide an extension of the Island’s existing mortuary services and will be used as a resting place for the deceased until funeral arrangements can be made. The facility has been developed using existing emergency plans, in collaboration with members of the COVID-19 response multi-agency groups, and it will ensure that we are suitability prepared should the worst happen.

“As Chair, I want to reassure the public that if the Sanctum should ever be used, Islanders will be treated with the utmost care and dignity.” 

The Co-ordinating Group is committed to maintaining Jersey’s existing mortuary services for as long as possible and the Sanctum will only be commissioned under a worst case scenario, if these facilities become overwhelmed and are unable to manage the demand.

The Sanctum will be protected by 24-hour security and has been professionally cleaned and refurbished for the appropriate and professional care of the deceased. The facility will be run by local funeral directors and hospital mortuary staff, and office and welfare facilities will be provided.

The Sanctum will be blessed by Jersey’s faith communities, on Friday 17 April 2020 by the following:

  • Very Rev Mike Keirle (The Dean)
  • Revd Canon Geoff Houghton (Vice Dean)
  • Revd Canon Dominic Golding (Catholic Dean)
  • Dr Sarfraz Jamali (Islamic representative)
  • Mr Stephen Regal (Jewish representative)

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