Wei, et al. (2020) performed an environmental sampling study to investigate the environmental contamination of SARS-CoV-2 by COVID-19 patients with prolonged PCR positive status of clinical samples.
The researchers sampled the air from rooms for nine COVID-19 patients with illness or positive PCR > 30 days, before and after nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal swabbing and before and after nebulization treatment. They also sampled patients’ surroundings and healthcare workers’ personal protection equipment (PPE) in a non-ICU ward. SARS-CoV-2 was detected by PCR.
Eighty-eight samples were collected from high-touch surfaces and floors in patient rooms and toilets, with only the bedsheets of two patients and one toilet positive for SARS-CoV-2. All air samples (n = 34) were negative for SARS-CoV-2. Fifty-five samples collected from PPE were all negative.
The researchers concluded that contamination of near-patient surroundings was uncommon for COVID-19 patients with prolonged PCR positive status if environmental cleaning/disinfection were performed rigorously. Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was unlikely in these non-ICU settings.
Reference: Wei L, Huang W, et al. Contamination of SARS-CoV-2 in patient surroundings and on personal protective equipment in a non-ICU isolation ward for COVID-19 patients with prolonged PCR positive status. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. Vol. 9, No. 167. 2020.