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China study finds health workers’ shoes can carry coronavirus, not as concerning for general public

When patients with the coronavirus end up in the hospital, where does the virus spread? A new study out of china is shedding light on just that.

Chinese researchers tested ICU medical staff’s shoes for the coronavirus, and half of them tested positive. So we looked at why it’s important medical providers are leaving their shoes at the door.

We first showed you Lee Health nurse Justin Davis’ routine at the end of March.

“Let me move my hand. There’s my shoes,” Davis told WINK News in March. “Here’s the hamper in front of the house. I thankfully have no neighbors. So I literally come home and strip it all down.”

Davis was doing his best to separate his work life and his home life. And the new study out of China shows that to be a good call.

“I found it fascinating but not unexpected,” said Dr. Paula Tropello, the dean of the School of Health Professions at FSW.”

Tropello says health workers’ shoes have long been considered carriers for diseases. In fact, she’s urged her own family members in the medical field to take off their shoes before going inside, long before the coronavirus hit.

“I actually have a son who’s an intensivist at Johns Hopkins,” Tropello said. “And I always say to him, ‘Please take off your shoes before you go in with my grandkids.”

Another data point: The virus was detected up to 13 feet away from infected patients.

But Dr. Loureen Downes, with FGCU’s School of Nursing, says that doesn’t necessarily mean the six-foot rule no longer applies.

The data also found that the highest concentration of the virus was found within the ICU.

“Most of us are not walking around in an ICU,” Downes said. “We’re out in the general public, so we don’t expect that we have a concentrated amount of the virus wherever we are.”

MORE: Aerosol and Surface Distribution of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Hospital Wards, Wuhan, China, 2020

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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