The Courier-Mail

Virus in Ward 5D after cleaning


COVID-19 virus has been found in the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Ward 5D, despite a “thorough” clean carried out last week.

The ward was closed and a deep clean ordered after two separate clusters, affecting four health workers and 19 other people, were linked to the infectious disease ward.

Contractor­s engaged through Queensland’s Department of Housing and Public Works cleaned the ward last week. But a Metro South Hospital and Health Service spokeswoma­n said that further cleaning would be carried out Wednesday after testing still showed the COVID-19 virus in the ward.

Microbiolo­gist and infectious disease physician Paul Griffin said the ability to detect virus after cleaning did not necessaril­y correlate with its ability to infect.

“It may have been residual genomic material or very small amounts of residual virus, rather than it being enough to infect,” Associate Professor Griffin (inset) said.

“But I think it is interestin­g to find virus after cleaning.”

Prof Griffin called on Metro South Health to provide more detail about how the ward was cleaned.

“This is a very significan­t event,” he said.

“To make sure we can stop it happening again, if there’s a deficiency in cleaning, whether it be the method, or the agent used, for example, then we all need to know about it.”

Griffith University infectious disease expert Nigel McMillan described the virus finding as “curious”.

“Does that suggest there’s a huge load of virus that’s been there that’s still even present to a lesser degree after cleaning?” he said.

“The virus itself won’t be viable. The virus is dead on most surfaces after two or three days. But I guess they want to see that their cleaning has been effective.”

Ward 5D remains closed.

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