Testing of medical equipment at long term care homes in the Vancouver Coastal Health region found COVID-19 can be present after use by a patient on items such as blood pressure cuffs.

Vancouver Coastal Health says it took immediate action after findings came to light and shared blood pressure cuffs and other medical equipments were replaced with either disposable cuffs or equipment that’s not shared.

Vancouver Coastal Health says it collected samples at three long-term care homes during outbreaks of COVID- 19 to understand environmental contamination in long-term care homes.

In all three facilities, the virus was detected on four standard reusable blood pressure cuffs.

COVID-19 was also found on the handle of a mobile linen cart and on the touch display of a tablet used to update medication records.

The lead author of this study. Dr. Atiba Nelson says it was done at facilities where enhanced cleaning was already in place.

Dr. Nelson says, “Although more research is needed to determine if this kind of contamination could contribute to the transmission of the virus, it did highlight areas of concern.”

Person-to-person transmission is believed to be the primary driver of outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

However, a US study published this month in the American Journal of Infection Control suggests medical equipment is a potential route for transmission of the virus.