Date / Time:

Sep 7, 2023
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

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As you know, COVID-19 is having a substantial impact on the healthcare and assisted living industries – and building ventilation is one of the foremost concerns.

HVAC systems are designed to maintain indoor air quality (IAQ) and prevent the spread of disease. Not only does poor ventilation fail to prevent disease, it can actively spread infectious agents through airborne means. Though COVID-19 is not predominantly an airborne disease, a recent study conducted by Princeton University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the National Institutes of Health found that “viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to three hours post-aerosolization.”

Recycled contaminated air

When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets rapidly shrink in size. This increases the number of particles that behave as aerosols. Aerosols remain airborne for hours, and can be inhaled by nearby people or transferred through a building’s HVAC system. Studies in China and South Korea have shown that air currents from HVAC in restaurants can spread the virus well over 6’ from the original source, and that an infected person seated at a table spreads the disease to seven other people sitting at four tables around them. Because of this, the CDC recommends increasing building ventilation to cut down on recycled contaminated air.

This seminar will review modes of COVID-19 transmission though ventilation systems and methods to reduce the spread. We will also review current CDC guidelines for disease prevention – specifically increased ventilation to reduce contaminated air. Additionally, this seminar will discuss the functionality of HVAC systems, current building ventilation codes, and pressurization zones. For example, in assisted care facilities, it is important to maintain negative pressurization in rooms and fresh air to minimize the spread.

The reality of post-COVID-19 life is that building owners and property managers will need to address their buildings’ indoor air quality, especially if the system has not been recently inspected or if the staff has not been specifically trained in HVAC maintenance. In order to protect staff and clients, owners must ensure that HVAC system filters are regularly inspected, exhaust systems are balanced and operational, and outside air sources are maximized.

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