WINNIPEG -- Hand hygiene is an important tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but a new report from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) shows some doctors, nurses and health care aides aren't washing their hands.

The WRHA quarterly report shows the overall percentage of hand hygiene compliance is 78 per cent for the first quarter of 2020.

Nurses are at 82 per cent for hand hygiene compliance, while healthcare aides are at 77 per cent.

Only 66 per cent of doctors were complying with hand hygiene, according to the report.

"We know we need to do better than that," said Nancy Dixon, chief medical officer with the WRHA.

The WRHA said the goal is 80 per cent, with a long-term goal of 100 per cent compliance, and Dixon said they're exploring the reason behind the lower rate among physicians.

"We have noticed over time that physicians have lower hand hygiene rates, so in order to address that, we are actively engaging physicians in a hand hygiene project I'm leading in the region," she said. "We are identifying hand hygiene champions at each site in order to improve our hand hygiene compliance rates among physicians"

Dixon said the WRHA has surveyed more than 4,000 doctors over the summer to pinpoint the barriers they're facing and will use the data to create a tool kit to send to different sites to assess the challenges.

A total of 20 observations per healthcare worker category were made during the audit in order for a relevant statistic for the individual healthcare worker category.

Manitoba Public Health says people should be washing their hands with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds, or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. People need to make sure their hands are dry completely after washing.