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Nov 17, 2020

New findings suggest that Covid-19 is airborne too

Experts said in March 2020 that corona virus particles are carried on droplets. These droplets fall towards the floor due to gravity and/or ride the general airflow in the room. That meant that keeping within 2 m (6 ft) was safe.

This week, the leading scientific paper Nature published a study performed at Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden. In April and May 2020 they found genome from corona virus up to 50 meters from the infection source in HVAC ducts. The virus was also found on samples in treatment rooms that were positioned high on the walls and more than 2 m away such that any droplet or contact transmission could be ruled out.

(A) Overview of the 19 investigated COVID-19 ward rooms (ward 1). Dots indicate approximate placing of ceiling vent openings. Red dots indicate openings that where SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in at least one of two samplings, blue dots openings negative in both samplings. (B) Lateral view of the hospital building. Ward levels: red; COVID-19 outpatient clinic, yellow and blue; COVID-19 wards 1 and 2, with 19 rooms each, purple; eighth floor with central ventilation fans and HEPA filters. Individual ceiling vent openings were investigated on the second-floor ward (yellow) seen in (A). Reference

The researchers could not conclude that the viral samples had infective ability, but the distance at which it was detected suggests that there may be a risk for airborne dissemination and transmission, especially at much closer distances to contagious persons in confined spaces, both in and outside hospital environments. Their recommendation is that it is reasonable to take precautionary measures against airborne transmission.

On Swedish Television, SVT, you can hear Associated Professor Erik Salaneck from Department of Medical Sciences, Infectious Medicine at Uppsala University talk about the recently published research (the feature is in Swedish)

Avidicare has extensive knowledge of how to control airflows within any area at hospitals and medical facilities. It is scientifically proven that the airborne transmission and the risk of infections will be minimized if the contaminated air and droplets are pushed downwards and swept away along with the floor to the exhaust. This knowledge should be put to further use. So please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns or ideas on how to create a safe and healthy environment at your hospital or clinic. 

Read full study here