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CDC: Your shoes could carry COVID-19

A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said COVID-19 was detected on the shoes of medical staff.

WUHAN, Hubei — As the number of COVID-19 cases rises across the globe, researchers and medical staff are trying to figure out the best way to treat the virus. 

They're also learning more about the novel coronavirus, studying how it's spread and how long it lives on different surfaces. A newly released study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focused on hospitals treating COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, China. Researchers swabbed different surfaces in the hospitals to monitor the spread of the virus.

The study found that even in areas where there were no COVID-19 positive patients, the virus was detected on the floors and also on the shoes of medical staff. 

"...as medical staff walk around the ward, the virus can be tracked all over the floor, as indicated by the 100-percent rate of positivity from the floor in the pharmacy, where there were no patients. Furthermore, half of the samples from the soles of the ICU medical staff shoes tested positive. Therefore, the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers." said the study.

The report then suggests medical staff disinfect their shoes before walking out of areas where COVID-19 patients are being treated to avoid spreading the virus.

Dr. Paul Nanda, Chief Medical Officer at Tampa General Hospital's Fast Track Urgent Care, says although the research does point to shoes being carriers for coronavirus, it's too early to tell if this means the average person should be worried about it. 

"The challenging part in all of this is just because we have tests sensitive to detect virus, we don't know the ability of that virus to be contagious. We don't know if that ability to measure it would allow someone to catch it and become sick from it," said Dr. Nanda.

"It's better to err on the side of caution at this time, especially with everything going on," said Dr. Nanda. 

He suggests people who work in the medical industry take extra precautions when coming home.

 "Take your shoes off outside, maybe in the garage and leave them there," said Nanda.

He suggests the average person who doesn't have contact with areas heavily affected by COVID-19 still take their shoes off outside. 

"I come from a family where we've always taken off our shoes when we walk in the house. That's probably a smart thing to do right now. Using a Cavi wipe or Clorox or Lysol, something with disinfectant, especially on the soles is a reasonable thing to do," said Nanda. You can use a solution of bleach and water as well, but keep in mind that may discolor some cloth on shoes. 

Nanda suggests also cleaning your floors regularly, as well as high-touch areas in your home. 

"The thing I see all the time, that people don't do enough is that they're not wiping off their phones," said Nanda. He suggests also wiping down countertops, faucets, door handles, computers, keyboards, computer mice and remotes with a disinfectant cleaner every day. 

You should wipe down surfaces multiple times a day if you leave your home and then come back.

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