76ºF

New study shows coronavirus travels on shoes

50% of soles of shoes from ICU medical staff tested positive for coronavirus, according to swab results

A doctor disinfects his shoes as he leaves the ICU unit of Rome's San Filippo Neri Hospital's Covid department, in Rome, Thursday, April 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
A doctor disinfects his shoes as he leaves the ICU unit of Rome's San Filippo Neri Hospital's Covid department, in Rome, Thursday, April 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.A new study out of Wuhan, China found that the coronavirus is widely distributed on the floors of hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. While concentrations of the virus were highest in ICU wards, general wards (even those not treating coronavirus patients) showed positive testing results too.

Researches said compared to floor samples of other viruses, the rate of positivity for COVID-19 was relatively high. In the study, the authors theorized this is the case because of gravity and airflow causing most virus droplets to float to the ground.

The study also found as medical staff walks around the ward, the virus can be tracked all over the floor, as indicated by the 100% rate of positivity from the floor in the pharmacy, where there were no patients.

Half of the samples from the soles of the ICU medical staff shoes tested positive. As a result, researchers concluded the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers.

In the study’s publication in the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, the authors highly recommended that persons disinfect shoe soles before walking out of wards containing COVID-19 patients.

The study examined two hospitals in Wuhan, China from February 19 to March 2. The researchers collected samples from indoor air, floors, shoes, computer mice, trashcans, sickbed handrails, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other surfaces.

For the latest studies and developments in the coronavirus pandemic, sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter.


About the Author: