Coronavirus spreading to our clothes and shoes; what health officials are saying


ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, people around the world are practicing social distancing and keeping up with their cleanliness and health.

One surface that some don’t think about are their clothes, and how the virus can live on them.

According to the World Health Organization, studies suggest the coronavirus “may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.”

18 News spoke with one Arnot Health Official who said the timeline of the virus depends on their surface.

“A lot of clothing materials are made of like more porous material,” said Andrew Klee, Infection Prevention Associate at Arnor Health. “We know that viruses and other bacteria organisms really don’t last that long, and tend to get trapped and break down in fairly quickly.”

Another health official from Guthrie Hospital tells 18 News that it’s still best to change your clothes if you’ve been near anyone who is ill.

“If you feel that you have been in close prolonged contact with someone who is ill, it would be best to change your clothes,” said Tina Brackman, MSN-RN, Guthrie Hospital. “If you have had that probe close prolonged contact, there is a possibility that a droplet landed near you or on you.”

A study done by the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal shows that virus can attach to shoes and can be a carrier of COVID-19.

“Half of the samples from the soles of the ICU medical staff shoes tested positive,” said the researchers. “Therefore, the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers.”

Researchers recommend that people disinfect their shoe soles before walking out of an area with COVID-19 patients.

Klee says this is a new study and more research is still being tested if it can actually function as a carrier method.

At this time, officials say clothes should not be a big concern and the public should focus on high-touch-areas.

“High-touch-areas such as your doorknobs your counter tops, bathrooms, those types of areas,” said Brackman.

Health officials would like to remind everyone to keep practicing social distancing and avoid touching any part of your face.

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