This is a past event.
Environmental contamination by SARS-CoV-2 in quarantine and isolation dormitories
There are relatively little data about the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the built environment, except for hospitals, which accommodate only the sickest patients. To investigate the level of viral contamination on different surfaces from less severely ill patients, we collected heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) filters and surface swab samples from university dormitory rooms housing students who tested positive for COVID-19. We detected viral RNA from 15/21 (71.4%) of HVAC filters, 71/125 (56.8%) of surface samples, and 4/6 (66.7%) of exhaust grilles in the public bathrooms of the two dormitories. Viral RNA was present in all five surface sample types, including the sink handle, floor near the sink (sink floor), sink countertop, door handle, and thermostat panel, among which the sink floor exhibited the highest positive rate (21/28), followed by the thermostat panel (16/28). Viral RNA levels on surfaces varied widely, from 10 to >104 genome copies per swabbed area of ~10×10 cm2. Positive samples from the HVAC filters and bathroom exhaust grilles indicate that the virus was in the air, either directly from exhaled respiratory aerosols or resuspension of dust. We also tested the infectivity of samples with a Ct value lower than 33, and none of them were positive, suggesting low chances of fomite transmission.
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