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Study Confirms Hospital COVID-19 Cleaning Protocols

Contact precautions as vital as cleaning and disinfecting

August 13, 2020

Hospital environmental services (EVS) staff cleaning the rooms of patients suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19 must take care to avoid contact with surfaces in the room and keep up with routine cleanings and disinfection, according to a study in the American Journal of Infection Control.

This study confirms the importance of practices EVS staff have been following all long in cleaning rooms of not only COVID-19 patients but also patients with other contagious infections, Infection Control Today reports.

Researchers studied the data from 13 patients with COVID-19 who were admitted to two hospitals in South Korea. Hospital A had five patients, two with severe pneumonia who were in negative pressure rooms off of the intensive care unit (ICU) and three admitted to negative pressure rooms in the isolation ward. Hospital B had eight asymptomatic patients in two regular, four-bed rooms. The beds were placed in the four corners of the room and divided by curtains.

Environmental samples were collected from surfaces in each patient’s room, such as patient monitors, blood pressure cuffs, pillows, bedside rails, nurse call controllers, and toilet paper holders. Researchers also gathered samples from surfaces in anterooms, corridors, and nurse stations.

In samples taken from hospital A, SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 10 of 57 (17.5%) of the samples from inside the rooms. In hospital B, 3 of 22 (13.6%) of the samples from inside the rooms were positive. Areas outside the rooms, such as the anterooms, corridors, and nursing stations, were all negative in both hospitals.

Investigators concluded that surfaces can be sources of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and that the study results justify the need for strict cleaning, disinfection, and contact precaution protocols.

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