March 14, 2020

Can SARS-CoV-2 contaminate hospitals?

By Anders Gundersen, HGHI | March 14, 2020

What do we know about how SARS-CoV-2 survives outside the human host in hospital settings? Transmission of COVID-19 within hospitals has been observed, but is is unclear how the virus was passed along. In a hospital in Singapore, researchers tested numerous sites in the rooms of three COVID-19 patients to determine how long the virus can live on various surfaces as well as personal protective equipment (PPE).

Air, Surface Environmental, and Personal Protective Equipment Contamination by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) From a Symptomatic Patient

JAMA Ong et al. Mar. 4, 2020

Two of the three patient rooms were sampled during the time the patients were still symptomatic, but after the rooms were cleaned. All samples were negative.

The samples from the third patient were taken before the room was cleaned. 13 of 15 room site samples tested positive and 3 of 5 toilet sites tested positive. Anteroom and corridor samples were negative. Stool samples in this patient were also positive.

Only one swab of personal protective equipment (the surface of a shoe front) was positive. All air samples tested came back negative.

Despite one patient’s room extensively testing positive, this patient’s room was not cleaned, which indicates that while SARS-CoV-2 can live on numerous surfaces, current disinfection protocols are sufficient.