A new study has shown that half of the air samples collected from several hospital hallways, ICUs and a fifth from bathrooms have high levels of the coronavirus in them. It also showed that air in ICUs is much more contaminated with coronavirus than air from non-ICUs.
The researchers also discovered that 17 per cent of air samples taken from close patient environments were contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 RNA and one-fourth of all ICU rooms with COVID-19 patients in them also had the virus in the air.
The study stated that 82 out of 471 samples i.e 17.4% collected from close patients' environments were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The percentage was much higher for air in intensive care settings. It was 25.2% for ICUs and 10.7% for non-ICUs.
"Among 2,284 records identified, the positivity rate was 5 of 21 air samples (23.8%) in toilets, 20 of 242 (8.3%) in clinical areas, 15 of 122 (12.3%) in staff areas, and 14 of 42 (33.3%) in public areas came back as positive," the study noted, according to India Today.
For this study, researchers analysed articles covering coronavirus and air contamination between January 1 and October 27. Out of the 24 studies, 10 were from China, the US, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Iran, the United Kingdom and Italy.
The analysed air samples were taken from closer patient environments such as - clinical areas away from patients, in staff areas, in toilets and/or bathrooms, and 6 in public areas.
"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% to 100% positive samples," the study read.
The study also stated that the level of severity of patients' COVID-19 infection had no correlation with the increased air contamination.