COVID-19: Medical equipment in care homes at risk of contamination: VCH study

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In all three facilities, the virus was detected on standard reusable blood pressure cuffs, for a total of four contaminated blood pressure cuffs of nine that were tested.

The virus was also detected on the handle of a mobile linen cart and on the touch display of an electronic tablet used for electronic medication records.

Lead author Dr. Atiba Nelson, a public health and preventive medicine resident physician who led the environmental swabbing with a VCH team, said the study was done in sites with known outbreaks and were enhanced cleaning protocols were in place.

“Although more research is needed to determine if this kind of contamination could contribute to transmission of the virus, it did highlight areas of concern,” Nelson said, in a statement.

Health officials say while person-to-person transmission is believed to be the primary driver of outbreaks in long-term care facilities, the findings, published this month in the American Journal of Infection Control, suggest medical equipment is a potential route for transmission of the virus.

The authors of the paper recommend enhanced environmental cleaning for all medical equipment or prohibiting communal use of the equipment.

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