A small study at a hospital in Wuhan, China has found that COVID-19 could be spread by shoes.
The study, published in the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, tested surface samples from an intensive care unit and general COVID-19 ward at the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, China.
The ICU housed 15 patients with severe symptoms and the general ward housed 24 patients with milder symptoms.
From Feb. 19 through March 2, swab samples were collected from the floors, computer mice, trash cans, sickbed handrails, patient masks, personal protective equipment, and air outlets.
The positivity rate was relatively high for floor swab samples “perhaps because of gravity and air flow causing most virus droplets to float to the ground. In addition, as medical staff walk 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,” the study said.
Half of the samples taken from the soles of shoes of ICU medical workers tested positive, leading health officials to conclude that the shoes might function as carriers.
“The 3 weak positive results from the floor of dressing room 4 might also arise from these carriers. We highly recommend that persons disinfect shoe soles before walking out of wards containing COVID-19 patients,” the study said.