Dear Paul: Could I get infected by taking an elevator?
Dear AA: This is a very good question. Riding in an elevator is unavoidable in many condominiums. An elevator is a small enclosed space. Sharing an elevator with a person carrying the virus, you may get infected through their droplets spread by coughs, sneezes and speeches. Even if you are alone in the elevator, you should not let your guard down. The last person using the elevator may have been carrying the virus. Some surfaces (doors, walls, buttons, handrails) may still carry the live virus on these surfaces.
If droplets fall on buttons or walls, the virus can be spread to other persons by contact. After contact, you may get infected by touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
To prevent COVID-19 infection:
- Wear a mask when taking an elevator
- Don’t touch your face with your hands
- Wash your hands when you get home.
A popular practice in China now is to wrap your fingers with a tissue before touching buttons in the elevator, which is a good alternative if you have no gloves.
Note: do not touch contaminated surfaces (such as the outside surface of the mask and tissue in which your fingers were wrapped before); If you do, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds as soon as possible.
Boards and Property Managers would be wise to step up elevator cleanliness/sanitization.
Remember while you may not show any symptoms, you may be a carrier. Keep your neighbours in mind. Stay well.