Air monitors identify super-spreader areas in aged care homes

Placing C02 monitors in aged care facilities could help protect residents against deadly air-borne respiratory viruses such as Covid-19, say health experts.

Placing carbon dioxide, or C02, monitors in aged care facilities could help protect residents against deadly air-borne respiratory viruses such as Covid-19, say health experts.

A study conducted at Helping Hand Aged Care Lightsview, an aged care home in Adelaide, found that low-cost C02 sensors can accurately identify at-risk areas for super-spreader events.

Assessing the airborne transmission risk in more than 60 areas in the facility, researchers from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and Flinders University detected a number of potential hazard zones.

“Reassuringly, we found that none of the resident areas were found to be high risk,” said Dr Steven Taylor, who leads the Respiratory Health Group within SAHMRI’s Microbiome and Host Health Program. “However, a number of staff areas, including meeting rooms and tea rooms, were flagged as potential transmission zones.”

Once the zones were detected, the researchers were able to implement simple measures to increase ventilation and reduce transmission risk.

Covid-19 has demonstrated the devastating consequences of the rapid spread of airborne viruses in aged care homes, said Dr Taylor.

“Almost all buildings have areas that carry a high risk of airborne transmission of respiratory viruses. However, the ability to identify these areas and implement strategies to reduce the risk has been limited.”

By installing portable monitors, providers could drastically reduce the spread of infection, said Dr Taylor. “C02 monitoring is inexpensive, re-deployable and an underutilised method to quickly and accurately identify high-risk areas.”

Dr Taylor and his team are leading a series of research projects to reduce infection spread within aged care settings. Their research is ongoing.

Since the Covid pandemic began in early 2020, there have been more than 5,000 resident deaths.

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Tags: air monitors, covid, Dr Steven Taylor, SAHMRI,

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