Covert COVID

This week’s expert: Dr Bernard Hudson, Clinical Microbiologist and Infectious Diseases physician

So how much are you at risk of COVID-19 from the door handle in your surgery? Or your desktop? Or the arm of the patient’s chair?

Basically the question is how long can this nasty little coronavirus remain viable on the different surfaces in your practice? Well according to Clinical Microbiologist and Infectious Diseases Physician, Dr Bernie Hudson,  COVID-19 can persist and be potentially dangerous up to a week on certain surfaces. Scary isn’t it?

Similarly a recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine1 suggested the virus tended to persist longer on plastic and stainless steel (up to three days in this particular study). Apparently surfaces such as cardboard and copper were less hospitable to COVID19.

So the best way to ensure our patients (or us for that matter) don’t suffer needlessly from that poisoned railing or chair arm? Well fortunately you don’t have to copper-plate your consulting room or make patients sit on cardboard boxes. Dr Hudson suggests we Marie Kondo the desk – clear the clutter and take away anything that is unnecessary and could potentially harbour the virus. And use alcohol/disinfectant – on the desk, the door handle, the chair, your hands, the pen, the stethoscope…

van Doremalen N, Bushmaker T, Morris DH, Holbrook MG, Gamble A, Williamson BN, et al. Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. N Engl J Med. 2020 Mar 17. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973. [Epub ahead of print]

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