“While ALL of the AIR samples ultimately came back NEGATIVE, 44 out of 112 (39.3%) tested surface samples were indeed positive for the coronavirus.
It doesn’t matter if you feel sick or you feel like a million bucks. Even asymptomatic COVID-19 patients can not only infect others directly, but also contaminate the surrounding environment. That’s the conclusion drawn from a new study using Chinese data.
The study’s authors say their findings emphasize the importance of hospitals properly cleaning all areas touched or inhabited by all COVID-19 patients.
“Placement of COVID-19 patients in rooms with negative pressure may bring a false feeling of safety and rigorous environment cleaning should be emphasized,” writes lead study author Zhiyong Zong, from the Department of Infection Control at West China Hospital.
It isn’t exactly breaking news that coronavirus patients can spread the virus to frequently touched items like clothes or furniture. However, this study focused more broadly on patients’ overall surroundings, a topic that’s understood far less extensively.
Researchers took samples from the surroundings and air within six negative pressure non-intensive care unit rooms that had been inhabited by 13 confirmed COVID-19 patients (two of those patients were asymptomatic). Areas and objects that were swabbed included bedrails, bedside tables, door handles, toilet handles, toilet bowls, and sinks. Additionally the research team checked bedsheets, pillows, floors, foot flush buttons, equipment belts on the walls, and air exhaust vents.
While all of the air samples ultimately came back negative, 44 out of 112 (39.3%) tested surface samples were indeed positive for the coronavirus.