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Statement on the management of waste containing adult incontinence products used by possible, probable and confirmed Covid-19 patients

The French High Council for Public Health (Haut Conseil de la santé publique, HCSP) is issuing a statement on the management of waste containing adult incontinence products used by possible, probable and confirmed Covid-19 cases, in health facilities, nursing homes and at home.

The percentage of people with incontinence requiring adult protection products is as high as 17% in the community and 50% in institutions, and research shows that between 2 and 10% of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 patients present digestive symptoms, especially elderly patients. During an epidemic, it cannot be ruled out that SARS-CoV-2 is eliminated via the stools, but the infectivity of the virus contained in the stools is poorly characterised to date. How long the virus remains infectious depends on several factors, such as the type of surface, remaining moisture content, temperature, the amount of bodily fluid and initial virus concentration.

The HCSP recommends eliminating such waste:

  • for health facilities and nursing homes: via their infectious clinical waste stream, already set up for waste from patients already or suspected of being infected by SARS-CoV-2, particularly in a bid to facilitate organisation in this regard, without separating it from other infectious clinical waste generated by the facility;
  • and for people confined at home, via the household waste stream.

The HCSP refers readers to its 19 March 2020 statement for the arrangements for eliminating such waste.

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