Operating Room Airflow Makes COVID Social Distancing Ineffective

November 9, 2020

An operating room's design may mean that healthcare professionals are more likely to be exposed to pathogens along the walls or away from the patient than they are standing close to a patient, according to an article on the Infection Control Today website.

Therefore, social distancing from a patient in an operating room might make a healthcare worker more exposed to COVID, the article said.

The airflow in modern operating rooms comes from the ceiling above the operator bed. 

Every other location in the operating room is functionally downwind of the patient. 

Materials and finishes in the OR — particularly walls and flooring — are also an important part of creating a safe environment, according to a Healthcare Design article. For instance, the Facility Guidelines Institute’s Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals dictates that floors should be monolithic and seamless, which will inherently keep out more pathogens and be more easily disinfected. Walls also play an important role in creating a hygienic space. Air and fluid-borne pathogens can reach the walls, so they must be easily and routinely cleaned, as well.

Read the full Infection Control Today article.

 

 

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