What we know about how COVID-19 spreads on surfaces

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With four cases of COVID-19 from community transmission now in Saskatchewan, many people are concerned about the potential spread of COVID-19 on surfaces such as groceries and reusable shopping bags.

How worried should we be about getting sick from these surfaces?

When a person is sick with COVID-19, they expel small invisible droplets of saliva by coughing or sneezing that contain SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes the highly contagious disease COVID-19.

“Another person nearby can inhale these, or they could land on a surface that another person nearby will quickly contact and could then pass to their mouth, eyes or nose by rubbing with their hands” said Andrew Cameron, an associate professor of biology at the University of Regina who researched infectious diseases.

He said these droplets don’t last very long in the air before they settle on surfaces, but the life of the virus on surfaces is not yet fully known.

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