Detection of air and surface contamination by SARS-CoV-2 in hospital rooms of infected patients.
Understanding the particle size distribution in the air and patterns of environmental contamination of SARS-CoV-2 is essential for infection prevention policies. Here we screen surface and air samples from hospital rooms of COVID-19 patients for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Environmental sampling is conducted in three airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) in the ICU and 27 AIIRs in the general ward. 245 surface samples are collected. 56.7% of rooms have at least one environmental surface contaminated. High touch surface contamination is shown in ten (66.7%) out of 15 patients in the first week of illness, and three (20%) beyond the first week of illness (p = 0.01, χ2 test). Air sampling is performed in three of the 27 AIIRs in the general ward, and detects SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive particles of sizes >4 µm and 1-4 µm in two rooms, despite these rooms having 12 air changes per hour. This warrants further study of the airborne transmission potential of SARS-CoV-2.
Chia, PY; Coleman, KK; Tan, YK; Ong, SWX; Gum, M; Lau, SK; Lim, XF; Lim, AS; Sutjipto, S; Lee, PH; Son, TT; Young, BE; Milton, DK; Gray, GC; Schuster, S; Barkham, T; De, PP; Vasoo, S; Chan, M; Ang, BSP; Tan, BH; Leo, Y-S; Ng, O-T; Wong, MSY; Marimuthu, K; Singapore 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak Research Team,
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