Study Shows Improving Air Quality Leads to Fewer COVID Cases

April 5, 2024
Researchers examined COVID cases at a special education school over the course of a year

Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical School reported on April 3 in PLOS One that “efforts to improve air quality at a special education school in Rochester, New York, were associated with fewer COVID-19 cases in staff and students.”

The school in question, the Mary Cariola Center, has a student population “at increased risk of COVID complications and may also struggle with protective measures such as social distancing and mask wearing.”

Researchers measured carbon dioxide levels over a 1- to 3-day testing period across 100 rooms in November 2022. This came after they had collected data on COVID cases in the rooms from August 2021 through August 2022. While “all rooms stayed well below the [OSHA] carbon dioxide limit,” investigators noted “that many rooms reached the moderate level, hinting at less-than-optimal air flow. The team found that the number of COVID cases among people in a given room was linked to the time they spent in rooms where carbon dioxide levels were moderate.”

Researchers also found that buildings that had air filters that can “capture more virus particles” had fewer COVID cases than rooms with more porous air filters.

CIDRAP has the article.

About the Author

Matt MacKenzie | Associate Editor

Matt is Associate Editor for Healthcare Purchasing News.