Health experts are calling for new recommendations to improve safety practices in hospitals and other areas that manage people with COVID-19. The call comes after researchers discovered new ways that help in rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.
A new study shows that infected people can release the virus into the air for up to 4 meters or 13 feet. Researchers also found that people carry the coronavirus to various places through their contaminated shoes, IFLScience reported.
Previous studies suggested that the virus can get into people mainly by breathing or touching respiratory droplets from infected people. Researchers said the latest findings provide new information on contamination conditions.
“The extremely fast transmission capability of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has aroused concern about its various transmission routes,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a report.
For the study, researchers analyzed air and surfaces at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, China. They took samples from indoor air and air outlets and items that may have been contaminated in an intensive care unit (ICU) and a general COVID-19 ward.
Results showed that the ICU had a 43.5 percent viral contamination while the general ward had less than 8 percent. The coronavirus appeared in floor samples, trash cans, sickbed handrails, doorknobs and computer mice.
But the virus also reached the areas without the presence of patients. Researchers said nearly half of all samples from ICU medical staff shoe soles tested positive for the coronavirus.
However, the team noted the study has some limitations. They did not test whether the virus present on items or surfaces could still infect people and cause COVID-19.
They also failed to determine the certain amount of virus in the air that could be considered as “infectious dose.” But the findings have been considered for new recommendations to enhance safety practices in different settings, including hospitals.
The CDC said frontliners and other people who deal with COVID-19 patients should regularly disinfect their shoe soles before leaving facilities. The agency aims to set stricter safety measures for medical staff and other hospital employees working in close contact with patients in the ICU.