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HEPA filters + anterooms


The outbreak of COVID-19, and its current resurgence in the United States has resulted in a shortage of isolation rooms within many U.S. hospitals admitting COVID-19-positive cases. As a result, hospital systems, especially those at an epicenter of this outbreak, have initiated task forces to identify and implement various approaches to increase their isolation capacities.

This paper describes an innovative temporary anteroom in addition to a portable air purifier unit to turn a general patient room into an isolation space. Using an aerosolization system with a surrogate oil-based substance, we evaluated the effectiveness of the temporary plastic anteroom and the portable air purifier unit. Moreover, the optimal location of the portable unit, as well as the effect of negative pressurization and door opening on the containment of surrogate aerosols were assessed.

Results suggested that the temporary anteroom alone could prevent the migration of nearly 98% of the surrogate aerosols into the adjacent corridor. Also, it was shown that the best location of a single portable air purifier unit is inside the isolation room and near the patient’s bed.

The outcome of this paper can be widely used by hospital facilities managers when attempting to retrofit a general patient room into an airborne infection isolation room.