Journal Articles

Publication Date



American Journal of Infection Control


BACKGROUND: With healthcare shifting to the outpatient setting, this study examined whether outpatient clinics operating in business occupancy settings were conducting procedures in rooms with ventilation rates above, at, or below thresholds defined in the American National Standards Institute/American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers/American Society for Health Care Engineering Standard 170 for Ventilation in Health Care Facilities and whether lower ventilation rates and building characteristics increase the risk of disease transmission.

METHODS: Ventilation rates were measured in 105 outpatient clinic rooms categorized by services rendered. Building characteristics were evaluated as determinants of ventilation rates, and risk of disease transmission was estimated using the Gammaitoni-Nucci model.

RESULTS: When compared to Standard 170, 10% of clinic rooms assessed did not meet the minimum requirement for general exam rooms, 39% did not meet the requirement for treatment rooms, 83% did not meet the requirement for aerosol-generating procedures, and 88% did not meet the requirement for procedure rooms or minor surgical procedures.

CONCLUSIONS: Lower than standard air changes per hour were observed and could lead to an increased risk of spread of diseases when conducting advanced procedures and evaluating persons of interest for emerging infectious diseases. These findings are pertinent during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, as working guidelines are established for the healthcare community.


Ambulatory Care Facilities, COVID-19, Humans, Pandemics, SARS-CoV-2, Ventilation



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