COVID-19: What you should know about touching in public places
VANCOUVER -- As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, people are being asked to limit the time they spend in public. But there are essential things you'll need to buy that will require you to leave the house. These include things like food, gas, and cash. All the surfaces you end up touching when you’re out could be contaminated with the novel coronavirus.
While COVID-19 appears to be spread mostly when people cough or sneeze and respiratory droplets land on those nearby, research suggests that it may survive on surfaces made from a variety of materials for hours or even days.
A report from the U.S. Centres for Disease Control found that RNA from the virus remained on the surfaces of the Diamond Princess cruise ship up to 17 days after the cabins were vacated. That was before disinfection. It said further study was needed to determine whether transmission occurred from the surfaces.
To help protect yourself, avoid touching surfaces with your fingertips. Instead, use a pen or your knuckle to press an elevator button or an ATM keypad or a touch screen.
If you can’t avoid a high-touch surface, carry tissues with you and use them to grab a doorknob or handrail. Just be sure to throw them away right after using. Another option is using your sleeve to cover your hand or finger.
Your smartphone isn’t a public surface, but it too can harbour bacteria, viruses, and other germs. Clean it often with a wipe that has 70 per cent isopropyl.
It’s also recommended that you power down your smartphone before cleaning it, and avoid using bleach, submerging it in cleaning agents, or allowing moisture to enter any openings.
Even after doing all of these things, wash your hands as soon as you can and avoid touching your face.