Room ventilation, open space, sanitisation of protective apparel, and proper use and disinfection of toilet areas can effectively limit the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in aerosols, according to a recent study in Nature. The aerodynamic characteristics of airborne SARS-CoV-2 and its deposition in hospitals (tertiary and field) and public areas in Wuhan, China may have preventive implications.
In general, very low or non-detectable concentrations of airborne SARS-CoV-2 were found in most patient areas of the tertiary hospital. However, the patient’s unventilated toilet in the field hospital had the highest concentration (19 copies/m3). Staff areas in the tertiary hospital had 6 copies/m3 but the field hospital, especially in protective apparel removal rooms, had 16-42 copies/m3. External public areas mostly had undetectable or very low concentrations of aerosolised virus (3), except for crowd gathering areas. The investigators quantified viral counts (but not infectivity) with droplet digital PCR-based tests.
When patient numbers had decreased and disinfection measures implemented, suspended particles were re-evaluated and consistently showed non-detectable virus.
The authors highlight the importance of ventilation and sterilisation of toilets, general public personal protection measures, and effective sanitisation of high-risk hospital areas, as well as the benefit of naturally ventilated large stadiums as field hospitals and the sanitisation of medical equipment.