DETECTION OF SARS-COV-2 FROM SURFACE OF PATIENTS’ LEFTOVER FOOD PACKAGES AT A COVID-19 QUARANTINE CENTRE
In healthcare facilities, food waste and its packaging are mostly managed as non-infectious general waste. However, waste from SARS-CoV-2 positive patients, are treated as medical waste as they may be contaminated by the virus. We investigated the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 contamination from positive COVID-19 patients to their leftover food packages at a quarantine centre. Food packages surface was swabbed using prewetted cellular foam, placed into viral transport media and analysed using real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in two samples (4.5%) from asymptomatic patients who were at day-2 positive SARS-CoV-2 with cycle threshold (Ct) value (RdRp/E), 34.96/35.72 and 37.1/36.48 respectively. Detection of SARS-CoV-2 supports that there is contamination to the waste. These poses risk of exposure as SAR-COV-2 survive on the surfaces, thus, safe handling and disposal of food waste should be maintained. However, further study involving viral culture should be explored to determine the viability of the SARS-CoV-2 from leftover food packages
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