Transmission Potential of SARS-CoV-2 in Viral Shedding Observed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

Transmission Potential of SARS-CoV-2 in Viral Shedding Observed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

Abstract

The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) originated in Wuhan, China in late 2019, and its resulting coronavirus disease, COVID-19, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. The rapid global spread of COVID-19 represents perhaps the most significant public health emergency in a century. As the pandemic progressed, a continued paucity of evidence on routes of SARS-CoV-2 transmission has resulted in shifting infection prevention and control guidelines between clasically-defined airborne and droplet precautions. During the initial isolation of 13 individuals with COVID-19 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, we collected air and surface samples to examine viral shedding from isolated individuals. We detected viral contamination among all samples, indicating that SARS-CoV-2 may spread through both direct (droplet and person-to-person) as well as indirect mechanisms (contaminated objects and airborne transmission). Taken together, these finding support the use of airborne isolation precautions when caring for COVID-19 patients.

Competing Interest Statement

The authors have declared no competing interest.

Funding Statement

Work was supported by University of Nebraska internal funding

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