Funeral directors are taking swabs from SLOT the deceased to test for coronavirus as part of a government pilot scheme.
Three businesses, including one from Nottingham and one from the West Midlands, are involved in the pilot, designed to assess Covid-19 deaths in the community.
Strict protocols mean permission must be sought from families to test deceased relatives who are eligible.
Public Health England said the scheme will be "evaluated in due course".
A.W. Lymn, which has sites in Nottingham, Mansfield Woodhouse and Derby, is one of the three businesses involved.
Jackie Lymn Rose, the firm's director, said: "The swabbing of the deceased is a straightforward way of gathering more information about the virus in the community."
Swabs are taken from the nose and throat area and only those that have died in a non-hospital setting are eligible.
Swabs must be taken within five days of the person's death and cannot be taken from a person whose death has been referred to the coroner.
Miss Lymn Rose said: "Families are advised they can withdraw permission from the trial at any stage."
So far, she added, some families had agreed to take part in the trial but others had declined.
"If they are in agreement, a consent form is completed and the swab is taken. The swab is then sent to Public Health England (PHE)," she said.
She believed the trial - which began in January, although the duration is currently unknown - may prove "crucial" in gathering information about the virus.