Two hospital porters die of Covid-19 infection

The BBC report that a second hospital porter has sadly died from Covid-19 infection, the second Royal Stoke Hospital porter to die.

Of course, this is terribly sad. Perhaps predictably however, I have heard rumbles of a possible link to clinical and other wastes being handled by porters. However, I solidly reject that putative link.

There has not been any evidence of transmission of coronavirus infection from handling wastes. Any slight risk that might exist will be reduced even further by the appropriate use of standard uniform workwear and gloves that in these difficult times might be enhanced by the use of a face mask and eye protection. Personal hygiene standards should be maintained with regular washing of hands and forearms, without immediate soiling from contact with removed gloves and soiled workwear.

Regrettably, those basic performance standards are far too often neglected. Whether employed by the NHS or by a contractor, the provision of suitable PPE items, training and supervision is too often lacking, a situation that exists right across the waste management sector.

And that link to work-related infection? Person-to-person transmission among work colleagues and others, on public transport, at the supermarket etc is just as likely and without accounting for the other 120 or so hours away from work, claims that infection arose due to the 40-ish hours at work is nothing more than speculation that cannot be substantiated.


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