Researcher in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. says swabbing for COVID-19 at airports can help predict outbreaks – CBC

Dr. Lucas Castellani says most areas his team swabbed at the Sault Ste. Marie airport had the virus

Mar 16, 2023

Swabbing for COVID-19 on surfaces at airports could help predict and prevent outbreaks, according to a researcher who helped author a new study on detecting the virus.

Dr. Lucas Castellani, the medical director of infection prevention and control at Sault Area Hospital, was one of the authors of a study published in NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) Evidence, which focused on the presence of COVID-19 in long-term care homes.

Researchers swabbed the floors in 10 long-term care homes across Ontario – mostly in Ottawa, Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie – looking for the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes the infection.

“Detection of SARS-CoV-2 on floors is strongly associated with COVID-19 outbreaks in LTCHs (long-term care homes),” the study concluded.

“These data suggest a potential role for floor sampling in improving early outbreak identification.”

While long-term care homes were the main focus, Castellani said his team also swabbed floors at the Sault Ste. Marie Airport.

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