Can you catch Covid from touching surfaces?

At the beginning of the pandemic there was a lot of concern about catching the virus from touching surfaces. Then a few months ago people started saying that you can’t catch the virus from touching surfaces. But I read of a case in New Zealand where someone underwent hotel quarantine and started an outbreak and they determined through contact tracing that they became infected as they were leaving the hotel quarantine and they likely caught the virus from touching the shared garbage can in a hallway that an infected person used, it was the type of garbage can that you have to lift with your hand to throw something away. This is a link to the case

Although part of me wonders if the person could have caught the virus from aerosol from nearby room of someone who was infected. Has it ever been determine how common it is for people to get infected during hotel quarantine from aerosol from people in nearby rooms?

I would like to know the facts on if you can or can’t catch the virus from touching surfaces? I am considering going to the eye doctor and they would be touching my eyes so I would like to know what the risk of that is if the doctor had Covid germs on his hands.

“Can”? Certainly. Have a covid infected person sneeze on a surface and then you lick it quickly- that would be very bad.

However, they found that the virus is not easily transmittable by surface contact. It dies too quick out there. Especially with sunlight and fresh air.

So, while some care is not a bad idea at all, you do not have to sanitize your canned goods after buying them. for example.

There are, and have long been, other things that are more easily spread by touching surfaces (and especially by touching your eyes) than Covid is. Given that, I would be surprised if an eye doctor didn’t follow protocol designed to keep patients safe, like hand-washing or glove-wearing.

Yes, touching a surface recently also touched by someone who has covid is a potential risk. However it is a low risk in the grand scheme of things in places where you are walking amongst resolutely unmasked and unvaccinated people.

Its only in places like New Zealand, where covid has been eradicated except for entry quarantine, where there is no background contagion that allows you to even identify and isolate that as a potential pathway for catching the disease.

In the earlier part of last year, when covid’s behaviour was largely unknown, a lot of eff ort went into studying how long it remained active on surfaces, and the answer was a long time. Handwashing and cleansing routines probably reduced that considerably, but not licking stair bannisters is probably still wise.

I think the NZ health authorities have backed away from the bin being the source of infection, in favour of aerosol transmission. After some further cases of transmission in MIQ (Managed Isolation and Quarantine) with no traceable physical contact, the provision of meals was staggered so that adjacent or opposing rooms were not being delivered at the same time.

Aerosol transmission from room to room during meal delivery seems to have also been the cause of the current Melbourne Delta variant outbreak

In Melbourne last week, a woman caught the virus from a family in a room across a hallway. It’s suspected the guests opened doors around the same time to pick up their meal.

It is clear that commercial hotels are not the best solutions for MIQ facilities when dealing with a disease like Covid-19, but the required investment for suitable facilities that may get minimal use in the long term makes building more suitable MIQ facilities unpalatable. And with the best will in the world, those facilities would probably not even be ready even if construction has started as soon as the quarantine requirements were put in place over a year ago - and it is likely they would be fit for purpose given what we now know about the disease.

That is an interesting link and certainly clears up a lot of confusion. In that article it talks about another case where they thought someone caught it from an elevator button but determined it was actually from aerosol from someone who entered the elevator shortly before hand. Was it determined if the infected person was wearing a mask?

I haven’t found a reference that answers that question.

Australia is a country that recently had a mining development boom, in which large mining development villages were assembled in remote places for short-term development workforces.

The “Howard Springs” development village is now in use as a quarantine center. I haven’t haven’t seen any complaints about it: it’s generally held up as an example of what a quarantine centre should be. I can’t find a date for how long it took to build (contracts where signed in 2012 and it opened in 2013), but right now the companies that specialise in temporary mining village accommodation are saying that they could construct and open in a couple of months if contracted.

That’s actually pretty impressive, and Australia has a workforce that has experience in working in isolated places for extended periods.

Here in New Zealand we don’t have that infrastructure requirement for rapid site construction, and the concept of staffing an MIQ facility isolated from main cities with on-site workers for extended working cycles (as would be required) isn’t a natural fit. It has been hard enough for agricultural producers to get local workers out of the cities for picking/harvesting in the absence of overseas casual workers who cannot enter the country.

Was the infected person in the elevator incident in a quarantine hotel or just a member of the public who was infected?

The person who caught Covid-19 in the elevator was a MIQ facility staff member (janitorial staff, as I recall).

I don’t know where to put this, but today in Lowe’s, as I walked out of the store, there was a shopping basket of FREE 16 oz hand sanitizer. FREE! Take a few! Yes, that was Sixteen Ounce, not 1.6 oz. So I grabbed a couple, 'cause you know, this shit ain’t over by a long shot.

What a crazy year this has been.