Key Research Question: Has There Been Documented Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Virus (Or Similar Viruses) Through Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems in Hospitals or Non-Hospital Settings? [open pdf - 427KB]
From the Context: " Respiratory viruses are believed to transmit over multiple routes and the relative significance between aerosol and droplet transmission may vary among pathogens.  The Public Health Agency of Canada (2020) and the World Health Organization (2020) consider the route of human-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 [severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2] to be predominantly via respiratory droplets or contact during close and unprotected contact, with a recommendation to use N95 respirators only in the context of aerosol-generating medical procedures.  A reported outbreak of COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] in an air-conditioned restaurant in Guangzhou, China that involved three family clusters was attributed to a longer range of droplet transmission, with the authors suggesting that was related to airflow generated by air conditioned ventilation but uncertainty over means of transmission remained.  University of Alberta researchers have received research funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research to examine how SARS-CoV-2 may be transmitted through airborne fine particles, and how its movement is controlled by current HVAC [heating, ventilation, and air conditioning] designs in non-healthcare settings.  There is concern about the possibility of promoting transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through HVAC systems inside and outside hospital settings."
2020 Alberta Health Services. Posted here with permission. Document is under a Creative Commons license and requires proper attribution and noncommercial use to be shared: [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0]
Alberta Health Services: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/