Orange County

Orange County Library Quarantines Books to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

One library in Orange County is taking extra precautions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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An Orange County library is taking special precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Vikki Vargas has details for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on August 3, 2020.

At the Mission Viejo Library, there are books about ducks. There are books about brilliant ideas. And what do those two genres have in common? They're both in quarantine.

The library sets aside all returned books for five days to ensure they are not contaminated with the coronavirus.

"The Batell lab that's doing testing found the virus lives longer on [cardboard] kinds of pages than traditional paper pages," librarian Genesis Hansen said.

Hansen says toddlers will touch and even taste cardboard books. When her library reopened in June, officials had to find a way to safely check books in and out. Now, it can be done online with curbside pickup, ensuring the books are barely touched by human hands.

Book patron Debbie Wright said, "I'm just picking up a book I had on hold, and I'm very happy to get it. It's been a while."

Patron Laura Haddad added, "I make sure they sit 48 hours, spray with Lysol, let it dry and then the kids get to read them."

Retailers are taking similar precautions. Across the street, Stein Mart has its dressing rooms closed and returned items are set aside for 48 hours.

Dr. Pascal Juang says medical journals have not tested clothing because fabrics vary too much. But he says that COVID-19 doesn't last very long on other hard surfaces.

"Cardboard survival rate for virus time is 24 hours, and the half life for that was four hours," he said.

Juang says 90% of the pandemic's spread is still airborne or from droplets, not from flipping the pages of a best seller.

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