Workers in high-traffic essential businesses say they are disinfecting their hands before heading home after a shift but nevertheless are worried about carrying COVID-19 home on their clothing.
“A lot of us working here are worried,” said an employee of a grocery store in Sydney, who wished to remain anonymous.
“There’s lots of disinfecting in the store but not of us before we go home,” the worker said, adding if they were to change at work they’d still be carrying the clothing into their homes.
“Not knowing much about the virus and what we are taking home is scary for a lot of us.”
Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer, Dr. Robert Strang, said if people are concerned about their clothing he would advise washing the clothing after a work shift in hot water, adding the wash will take care of the situation.
“The most important thing for people working in those high exposure environments is good cleaning and very frequent handwashing,” he said. “Those are the most important things to focus on.”
Strang is not aware of any studies of the virus specifically on clothing but said, in general, he’s more concerned — and the studies concur — that the virus can live on high touch surfaces.
“It’s a lot of places where hands can go.”
Strang said he knows grocery stores are taking measures to minimize people going in the stores and are putting up plexiglass to create a barrier between their cashiers and customers.
“They are doing things to adhere to the public health principles that we’ve asked them to,” he said.
According to information provided by Public Health, COVID-19 viruses can survive on surfaces from several hours to days depending on various factors. Data from laboratory studies have shown that its stability in the environment depends on situations such as relative temperature, humidity and surface type.
The virus is easily made inactive by using simple disinfectants such as a diluted bleach solution prepared daily.