Evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in COVID-19 isolation wards: On-site sampling and numerical analysis

Wenjie Huan, Kailu Wang, Chi-tim Hung, Kai-ming Chow, Raymond Lai, Richard Huan Xu, Eng-Kiong Yeoh, Kin-Fai Ho, Chun Chen (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Although airborne transmission has been considered as a possible route for the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the role that aerosols play in SARS-CoV-2 transmission is still controversial. This study evaluated the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 isolation wards at Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong by both on-site sampling and numerical analysis. A total of 838 air samples and 1176 surface samples were collected, and SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected using the RT-PCR method. Testing revealed that 2.3% of the air samples and 9.3% of the surface samples were positive, indicating that the isolation wards were contaminated with the virus. The dispersion and deposition of exhaled particles in the wards were calculated by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. The calculated accumulated number of particles collected at the air sampling points was closely correlated with the SARS-CoV-2 positive rates from the field sampling, which confirmed the possibility of airborne transmission. Furthermore, three potential intervention strategies, i.e., the use of curtains, ceiling-mounted air cleaners, and periodic ventilation, were numerically investigated to explore effective control measures in isolation wards. According to the results, the use of ceiling-mounted air cleaners is effective in reducing the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in such wards.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129152
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Early online date26 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2022


  • Aerosol transmission
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Indoor environment
  • RT-PCR test
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in COVID-19 isolation wards: On-site sampling and numerical analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this