There has been a lot of discussion regarding whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be spread through indirect contact on environmental surfaces. Although the debate continues, a recent study was published that indicates there may be more to this than some may think.
Two Chinese students studying overseas returned to China on March 19 and March 20. On the day of their arrival to China, neither had a fever or clinical symptoms of COVID-19 and they were transferred to a hotel for a 14-day quarantine. Several days later, both students were transferred to a local hospital for testing and both were positive for the virus. When the students left the hotel, swab samples were obtained from high touch surfaces in the hotel rooms and the findings were interesting.
The results showed that there was a higher viral load after prolonged contact with sheets and pillow covers than with intermittent contact with the door handle and light switch. That really isn’t surprising considering linens are probably in contact with a person for 6-8 hours at a time. What does this mean to you? You should consider educating your staff on the importance of taking extra care when handling and laundering used linen. It is recommended that used linen not be shaken upon removal and that laundered items be thoroughly cleaned and dried to prevent additional spread.
Please refer to the protocol for environmental safety on the HealthCap website and review your current policies and protocols to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect your staff and residents!
Stay well, stay safe and stay tuned!