Effective Date: 
Tue, 09/07/2010
Sun, 08/01/2021
Sun, 08/01/2021

Airborne bacteria, viruses, and other agents may lead to infections. The Air Quality Policy assures that all staff/personnel, patients, and visitors are at a reduced risk for exposure to airborne pathogens and environmental agents. 

SHS works closely with Environmental Health and Safety staff to ensure that the air quality of all rooms is adequate to prevent inhalation of microbes or particulate matter. 



  1. The intake system for the SHC building vacuums outside air into the ventilation system of the building and flows into each individual patient room, hallways, bathrooms, etc.
  2. Air is not re-circulated through the system but is instead pumped to the outside through a separate air-exit unit.
  3. There is an optimal circulation of environmental air in each patient exam room in the SHC buildings with a minimum of seven air exchanges per hour.
  4. During an epidemic, pandemic, fire or other disaster, SHS consults Environmental Health and Safety staff and the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency to ensure that the air quality at SHS is safe. 
Key Points: 
  • SHS follows all federal, state, county and campus guidelines for maintaining safe indoor air quality.
  • The number of air exchanges per hour (6) serves as a guide to determine how soon an exam room may be used after a patient with a serious respiratory infection is discharged. Details are found in the “Transmission Based Precautions" policy.
  • The longest ‘rest period’ for an air-contaminated exam room (i.e., SARS CoV2, Influenza, Varicella) is one hour.