Something the media is not talking about is the fact that over the past few months, the COVID-19 virus has been found in the air in patient rooms, bathrooms, and in the hallways and also outside the patient’s rooms. This involves Nursing Homes, Day Care Facilities, Shopping Centers, Medical facilities and anyplace there is multitude of people. On top of this, very few studies have evaluated the presence of viruses with pathogenic effects in the air. In fact, “It has been reported that hospital-acquired respiratory viral infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality among hospitalized patients,” stated a PMC Articles.
Until now, few studies have focused on the prevalence of respiratory viral infections as a hospital-acquired infection. In this regard, a previous study on the prevalence of acute respiratory infections among hospitalized patients showed that viruses are associated with a significant percentage of acute respiratory infections, which would explain why the spread COVID cases in nursing homes have spiked more than any other category.
To make matters worse, there are many variables involved with air quality testing such as: patient distance from the sampler, using protective or oxygen masks by patients, patient activities, coughing and sneezing during sampling time, air movement, air conditioning, HVAC Systems, sampler type, sampling conditions, storage and transferring conditions can affect the results.
In study taken in Singapore from Jan 24th – Feb. 4th 2020, that had individual and isolated air exchanges in each room with COVID-19 patients, showed interesting results. Each room was cleaned twice daily and all PPE equipment was used at all times. 100% of surface tests came out negative after cleaning. However, swabs taken from the air exhaust outlets tested positive, suggesting that small virus-laden droplets may be displaced by air flows and deposited on equipment such as vents, despite all air tests being negative. (This test also supported the need for strict environmental and hand hygiene.)
Since the virus is airborne, how can COVID-19 be removed or inactivated? The scientific community finds that the combination of high-efficiency filters and UV disinfection can be effective in removing or inactivating airborne viruses, including COVID-19,” stated the Synergist a publication of the American Industrial Hygiene Association.
The answer is thru the HVAC Systems. “A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy demonstrated that using HEPA filtration and 10,000 µw/cm2 of UV could achieve kill/sterilization rates approaching 99 percent,” their article continues.
Until the vaccine is prevalent, or the HVAC Systems have been updated, we all need to wear our masks in places where multiple people congregate. Droplets can only be placed on surfaces by those not wearing a mask.
PMC – US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
The Synergist a publication of the American Industrial Hygiene Association.
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