HALF of air samples taken from hospital corridors and a fifth of bathrooms have high levels of coronavirus, according to the study
- The researchers analyzed 24 studies from eight countries between January 1 and October 27 that examined COVID-19 and air contamination
- Air samples from ICU rooms were twice as likely to be positive for virus genetic material by 25.2% compared to 10.7% for non-ICU rooms
- More than a fifth, 23.8%, of samples taken from bathrooms and / or toilets were positive for viral RNA
- Runner samples were the most likely to be positive by 56.3%
Large amounts of the new coronavirus can be found in the air at several hospitals, suggests a new study.
The researchers found that a quarter of all ICU rooms with COVID-19 patients were contaminated with genetic material from the virus, known as SARS-CoV-2.
Furthermore, more than 20 percent of the bathroom and toilet samples, as well as more than half of the corridor samples, were positive.
The team, from the Central Hospital of the University of Nantes, France, says that the high concentration of the virus, along with many people squeezed into poorly ventilated rooms, may explain how frontline health professionals end up contracting the virus despite using it. Personal protective equipment.
The researchers analyzed 24 studies from eight countries between January 1 and October 27 that examined COVID-19 and air contamination. In the photo: Tanna Ingraham, a member of the medical team, speaks to a patient at ICU COVID-19 at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, December 21
A total of 23.8% of air samples taken from hospital bathrooms tested positive for viral genetic material, as well as 56.3% of samples taken from corridors
For the analysis, published in the JAMA Network Open, the team searched for articles on COVID-19 and air contamination between January 1st and October 27th.
A total of 24 studies were included from eight countries, including the USA, the United Kingdom, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Iran.
Air samples were collected in rooms of hospitalized patients inside and outside the ICUs; clinical areas, including nursing stations; personnel areas, such as changing rooms; public areas, such as corridors and main entrances; and restrooms and / or restrooms.
Of the 893 samples collected, 17.4% were positive for viral RNA, or genetic material, of the coronavirus.
Air samples from ICU rooms were more than twice as likely to be positive for the virus by 25.2 percent compared to 10.7 percent for rooms outside the ICU.
In addition to the ICU rooms, the highest percentage of contaminated samples came from bathrooms and corridors.
More than a fifth, 23.8 percent, of samples taken from toilets and / or toilets were positive for SARS-CoV-2.
The researchers say this is likely because the bathrooms are small and poorly ventilated, in addition to the genetic material of the virus found in stool samples.
“Flushing the toilet can cause RNA to aerosolize in small, unventilated bathrooms or toilets,” they wrote.
In addition, 56.3 percent of the corridor samples tested positive, with an overall positive rate of 33.3 percent in public areas.
The samples from the personnel areas were about 12% positive.
A total of 19.2 percent of positive samples were found in meeting rooms and 3.9 percent in changing rooms.
‘The discovery of high concentrations in the staff rooms (ie meeting and dining rooms) is consistent with the possible cross-transmission of COVID-19 between [healthcare professionals] during breaks’, wrote the authors.
“During these periods, face masks are often removed in small areas without ventilation.”
The team says it is unclear whether the air contains viruses that are viable enough to infect people and hopes to study this subject in future research.
“High viral loads found in restrooms and / or restrooms, personnel areas and public corridors require careful consideration of these areas to prevent transmission of COVID-19,” wrote the authors.
‘However, the presence of viable viruses should be considered primarily, as it is a necessary link to the potential for cross-transmission.’