Air samples from hospitals, ICUs, bathrooms have high levels of Covid-19: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on December 27, 2020

A new study suggests that the air samples collected from several hospital hallways, intensive care units, and bathrooms had high levels of Covid-19. Moreover, the air samples collected from the ICUs were more contaminated than non-ICU units.

In the study, the researchers stated that 82 of 471 air samples (17 per cent) collected from close patients environments were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. While one-quarter of all ICU rooms with coronavirus patients were contaminated from Covid-19 (intensive care unit, 27 of 107 [25.2 per cent] vs non-intensive care unit, 39 of 364 [10.7 per cent].

"Among 2284 records identified, the positivity rate was 5 of 21 air samples (23.8 per cent) in toilets, 20 of 242 (8.3 per cent) in clinical areas, 15 of 122 (12.3 per cent) in staff areas, and 14 of 42 (33.3 per cent) in public areas came back as positive," the study noted.

For the research, the authors looked for articles covering coronavirus and air contamination between January 1 and October 27. Of the 24 studies, 10 were from China, the United States, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Iran, the United Kingdom and Italy.

"The results of the positivity rate in ICU and non-ICU patient environments were highly heterogeneous and appeared superior in the ICU when pooling the results. In the ICU, 7 of 12 studies did not find SARS-CoV-2 RNA, whereas the remaining did, with 37.5 per cent to 100 per cent positive samples," it said.

However, the study also stated that the severity level of patients' infections was not associated with increased air contamination.

The findings of the study were published in the journal JAMA Network.

Published on December 27, 2020

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