Hospital managers are being urged to reduce the number of patients in ward bays after researchers confirmed a greater risk of coronavirus spread.
Dr Benjamin Parcell, of Dundee University’s School of Medicine, said placing patients in bays containing up to six beds could hasten virus spread.
He said: “When there are multiple bed occupancies in bays, it is important to keep the number of patients as low as possible.
“These results could inform national guidance on appropriate placement of patients to slow down the spread of Covid-19.”
Dr Parcell was part of a team, including computer scientists, which studied the most appropriate placement of patients as part of efforts to reduce the risk of spread of Covid-19.
Previous research suggested there was no difference between bays containing one patient and those which were fuller.
Dr Parcell said his team 0bserved that healthcare associated SARS-CoV-2 infections spread more slowly in single, one-bed, rooms compared to shared bays on non-Covid-19 wards.
They also found the infection spread slower in four-bed bays compared to six-bed bays.
He said the findings had important implications in the context of the current pandemic.
“It can result in serious infection in some patients,” he said.
“Patients may not always have symptoms, there are high associated hospital costs, and a very large number of patients need to be hospitalised, with or without disease.”