It has been months that all of us are struggling with Covid-19, an illness caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus that gets transmitted via small droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is even possible to contract Covid-19 when a person touches his/her own mouth, nose or eyes after touching contaminated surfaces. Now, this may not seem like a direct route of infection, but it is indeed risky.
How to prevent the spread of Covid-19?
So far, all of us have been dependent on personal protective equipment like masks, face shields, suits and hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. However, new studies conclude that the SARS-CoV-2 virus remains alive and active on surfaces for hours, and even days in some cases. This means, along with sanitizing our hands we need to frequently clean surfaces and disinfect them.
The good news is, now the presence of virus in the air can be tested as well. With the help of the new molecular test known as RT-qPCR test, it is possible to specifically target SARS-CoV-2 virus. For COVID-19 air testing, it is ideal to depend on companies like Airtests Mattests Inc, that take samples using sampling matrix and a pump that extracts 1000 liters of air within 30 minutes.
The results of the test indicate the existence of RNA from Coronavirus. A quantitative result confirms whether the sampling area had particles from Coronavirus or not.
Importance of air testing and sanitization in hospitals and other medical facilities
It is observed that the infection rate among health care workers is rising with every passing day. Now, if the healthcare workers are not healthy, who will assist us through this pandemic? Till date, all of us thought that personal protective equipment is enough to remain safe. However, the truth is they are not. After all, Covid-19 lingers and remains active in air and on surfaces for hours to days.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) concludes that SARS-CoV-2 virus survives on plastic and stainless steel for 2 to 3 days. This means, surfaces like light switches, food trays, doorknobs, etc. can remain contaminated for days. Also, the virus lasts for about 24 hours on cardboard surfaces, and this makes items like tissue and glove boxes riskier to use.
In order to protect healthcare workers, hospitals and other medical facilities need to get regular environmental screenings that can detect coronavirus in air as well as on surfaces. If the area is confirmed as contaminated, it is vital to follow proper sanitization steps.
Even though this seems like the right plan to follow, most of the hospitals and healthcare settings neglect it. Hospitals are not cleaned and sanitized regularly, and as a result healthcare environment are no more dependable.
To summarize, it can be said that to protect ourselves from contracting the virus, we all need a multi-faceted approach. No single method can help us get through this pandemic. Well-established and tested personal protective equipment, along with proper sterile environment in hospitals can ensure that our healthcare workers remain healthy, and thereby can take proper care of our infected individuals.