Viruses. 2021 Nov 23;13(12):2347. doi: 10.3390/v13122347.
Evidence varies as to how far aerosols spread from individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 in hospital rooms. We investigated the presence of aerosols containing SARS-CoV-2 inside of dedicated COVID-19 patient rooms. Three National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health BC 251 two-stage cyclone samplers were set up in each patient room for a six-hour sampling period. Samplers were place on tripods, which each held two samplers at various heights above the floor. Extracted samples underwent reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for selected gene regions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus nucleocapsid. Patient medical data were compared between participants in rooms where virus-containing aerosols were detected and those where they were not. Of 576 aerosols samples collected from 19 different rooms across 32 participants, 3% (19) were positive for SARS-CoV-2, the majority from near the head and foot of the bed. Seven of the positive samples were collected inside a single patient room. No significant differences in participant clinical characteristics were found between patients in rooms with positive and negative aerosol samples. SARS-CoV-2 viral aerosols were detected from the patient rooms of nine participants (28%). These findings provide reassurance that personal protective equipment that was recommended for this virus is appropriate given its spread in hospital rooms.