A new study from Central Hospital at France’s University of Nantes shows COVID-19 can be detected in hospital air in high amounts, which could explain how frontline healthcare workers contract the virus.
According to the researchers, the coronavirus can be detected in about one-in-four hospital Intensive Care Unit rooms with COVID-19 patients, in more than one-in-five hospital bathrooms, and in more than half of hospital hallways. The researchers note the presence of the virus in high concentration in the air, combined with poor ventilation and cramped circumstances, could lead to healthcare workers contracting the coronavirus despite safety precautions.
“The switch from airborne to droplet precautions, combined with a global shortage of face masks and respirators, fed the controversy regarding respiratory protections to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2,” the study reads. “This generated a mistrust in personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly regarding surgical masks and their ability to protect HCPs [health care professionals] from SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”