Surfaces can become contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 when someone infected with the virus (who may or may not have COVID-19 symptoms) releases the virus from their body into the environment, for example through coughing, sneezing, vomiting, or defecating. For example, in an isolation room occupied by a COVID-19 patient in Singapore, SARS-CoV-2 genetic material was reportedly detected on 87% of 15 room surfaces (including things like bed rails and windows) prior to cleaning. The same study found SARS-CoV-2 genetic material on 60% of 5 bathroom sites (including the toilet bowl, sink and door handle). Other studies have found similar results in healthcare settings (Study 1, Study 2, Study 3, Study 4, Study 5).
Want to know more?
- How do diseases transmit via surfaces?
- What does “detection” mean when discussing viruses in the environment?
- How long does SARS-CoV-2 survive on surfaces?
- To what extent can SARS-CoV-2 be transferred between surfaces and hands?
- What type of surface cleaning and disinfection should we promote for homes and workspaces?
- How resistant is SARS-CoV-2 to disinfection?
- How can we maintain cleanliness of public water pump handles?
- Useful resources on surface disinfection