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Getting Answers: Can the coronavirus be spread through air conditioning?

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TUCSON- As stores and restaurants begin to reopen, some viewers wanted to know if the coronavirus can spread through air conditioning.

News 4 Tucson's Priscilla Casper answered this question during her Getting Answers segment Friday evening.

As the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is still being researched, Dr. Bob England, director of the Pima County Health Department, said that it is unlikely.

"Based on other coronaviruses, it is unlikely that the virus itself travels THROUGH air duct systems, but it can be spread BY air flow, if droplets from an infected person are in the air," Dr. England said.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers posted a statement on its website about the coronavirus and air conditioning:

"Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures. Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air."

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recently published a study that looked into the COVID-19 outbreak associated with air conditioning in a restaurant in China.

The CDC recommends to increase the distance between tables and improve ventilation to help prevent the spread of the virus in restaurants.

If you have a question about the coronavirus, email GettingAnswers@KVOA.com.

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Priscilla Casper

Priscilla Casper is an anchor and multi-skilled journalist for News 4 Tucson. She anchors weekdays at noon and 4 p.m.

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