Lednicky, J. A., Lauzardo, M., Hugh Fan, Z., Jutla, A., Tilly, T. B., Gangwar, M., Usmani, M., Shankar, S. N., Mohamed, K., Eiguren-Fernandez, A., Stephenson, C. J., Alam, M. M., Elbadry, M. A., Loeb, J. C., Subramaniam, K., Waltzek, T. B., Cherabuddi, K., Glenn Morris, J., & Wu, C. Y. (2020). Viable SARS-CoV-2 in the air of a hospital room with COVID-19 patients. International Journal of Infectious Diseases
There has been ongoing debate about how SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted – is it just droplets? Or does it also transmit by air? Lednicky and colleagues developed a sampling method to test air in a shared patient room with COVID19-positive patients. The air samplers were located at a distance greater than 6’ from the patients. The results showed a complete sequence of SARS-CoV-2 collected from an air sample was an exact match with the virus isolated from patient 1. This study does clearly suggest there is an inhalation risk for acquiring COVID-19 beyond the 6’ practice of physical or social distancing. For designers, aerosolization raises questions about HVAC systems and air changes, but since HVAC design wasn’t the purpose of this study, we know we need to continue to work with engineering professional to establish how to best mitigate transmission by air.