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Infection Risks Faced by Public Health Laboratory Services Teams When Handling Specimens Associated With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Authors
  • Wong, Chun-Kwan1
  • Tsang, Dominic N-C1
  • Chan, Rickjason C-W1
  • Lam, Edman T-K1
  • Jong, Kwok-Kwan1
  • 1 Public Health Laboratory Services Branch, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Shek Kip Mei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China. , (China)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Safety and health at work
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2020
Volume
11
Issue
3
Pages
372–377
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.shaw.2020.07.001
PMID: 32837739
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Infection risks of handling specimens associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by public health laboratory services teams were assessed to scrutinize the potential hazards arising from the work procedures. Through risk assessments of all work sequences, laboratory equipment, and workplace environments, no aerosol-generating procedures could be identified except the procedures (mixing and transfer steps) inside biological safety cabinets. Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as surgical masks, protective gowns, face shields/safety goggles, and disposable gloves, together with pertinent safety training, was provided for laboratory work. Proper disinfection and good hand hygiene practices could minimize the probability of SARS-CoV-2 infection at work. All residual risk levels of the potential hazards identified were within the acceptable level. Contamination by gloved hands was considered as a major exposure route for SARS-CoV-2 when compared with eye protection equipment. Competence in proper donning and doffing of PPE accompanied by hand washing techniques was of utmost importance for infection control. © 2020 The Authors.

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