An early release of a COVID-19 study rams home the dangers brave staff face in intensive care units and hospitals in Australia and around the world.
The new research found a high level of COVID-19 contamination on the floors of a Wuhan hospital and the shoes of doctors and nurses.
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The study, titled Aerosol and Surface Distribution of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Hospital Wards, Wuhan, China, 2020, analysed swabs from Wuhan’s Huoshenshan Hospital during the height of the pandemic.
Half of all samples taken from the soles of doctors, nurses and staff working in the ICU tested positive for the virus.
Researchers concluded that “the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers”.
This hypothesis was backed up by evidence of the virus found on the floor of the hospital pharmacy, where patients were not allowed access.
“As medical staff walk around the ward, the virus can be tracked all over the floor, as indicated by the 100 per cent rate of positivity from the floor in the pharmacy, where there were no patients,” the authors wrote.
Respiratory droplets falling to the floors moved by both gravity and air flow caused the distribution of the virus, the study found.
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The virus was also found on computer mice, trash cans, door knobs and sickbed handrails.
Researchers concluded COVID-19 in ICU presented “a potentially high infection risk” for medical staff and other close contacts.
Early release articles are not considered as final versions of the research.
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