Improving indoor air quality is necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in hospitals and nursing homes, according to researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020, there has been an increasing number of reports of transmission occurring via particles in the indoor air of hospitals and nursing homes.
This includes an example in the Netherlands where the virus spread via the ventilation system because unfiltered indoor air was being circulated.
Therefore, the researchers have said in situations where infected and healthy people may be indoors for a long period of time, it is essential to have a constant supply of fresh air either through an air conditioning system or through adequate ventilation.
When it is not possible to ventilate the room sufficiently, air purifiers may also be helpful in reducing the concentration of viruses in the room.
The research team have emphasised that the training of hospital and nursing home staff is extremely important to prevent the spread of viruses via indoor air.
Professor Aldred Widensohler, lead author of the study said: ‘The complexity of the aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2, especially indoors, is far from being solved and there is a need to establish appropriate guidelines to protect medical staff.
‘With this publication, we are therefore trying to give recommendations for measures that could contribute to the containment of not only current but also future virus pandemics.
Dr Ajit Ahlawat added: ‘As protection against the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via the air in closed rooms, especially in cold and dry weather, we recommend humidifiers to keep the relative humidity in the room in the range of 40 to 60% and to reduce the risk of respiratory tract infection.
‘It is in this middle range that the human mucous membranes are most resistant to infections. In addition, the viruses in the aerosol particles can survive at a relative humidity around 50% for less time than in drier or high humid air.’
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