SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection of hospital isolation wards hygiene monitoring during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 outbreak in a Chinese hospital

Int J Infect Dis. 2020 May:94:103-106. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.04.024. Epub 2020 Apr 18.


Objectives: The aim of this paper was to monitor the presence of SARS-Cov-2 among hospital environment surfaces, sewage, and personal protective equipment (PPE) of staffs in isolation wards in the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University, China.

Methods: Surfaces of objects were routinely wiped with 1000mg/L chlorine containing disinfectant. Air and sewage disinfection was proceeded routinely and strictly. Hospital environmental surfaces and PPE of staffs in isolation wards were sampled using swabs. The sewage from various inlet and outlets were sampled. The respiratory and stool specimens of patients were collected. The respiratory specimens of staffs in the isolation wards were also sampled once a week. Quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) methods were used to confirm the existence of SARS-Cov-2 RNA. Viral culture was done for the samples positive for SARS-Cov-2 RNA.

Results: During the study period, 33 laboratory-confirmed patients were hospitalized in isolation wards in the hospital. None of SARS-Cov-2 RNA was detected among the 36 objects surface samples and 9 staffs PPE samples in isolation wards. Though the 3 sewage samples from the inlet of preprocessing disinfection pool were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA and the sample from the outlet of preprocessing disinfection pool was weakly positive, the sewage sample from the outlet of the last disinfection pool was negative. All of the 5 sewage samples from various points were negative by viral culture of SARS-Cov-2. None of the respiratory specimens of staffs in the isolation wards were positive.

Conclusions: Though SARS-Cov-2 RNA of the sewage samples were positive from inlets of the sewage disinfection pool and negative from the outlet of the last sewage disinfection pool, no viable virus was detected by culture. The monitoring data in this study suggested that the strict disinfection and hand hygiene could decrease the hospital-associated COVID-19 infection risk of the staffs in isolation wards.

Keywords: COVID-19; Disinfection; Environmental contamination; Healthcare-associated infection; SARS-CoV-2.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / genetics*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections* / virology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Disinfection
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / virology
  • RNA, Viral / genetics*
  • RNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • RNA, Viral