As COVID-19 sweeps the nation, the public and private sectors have instituted social distancing precautions to limit the spread of the virus that has already infected more than 6 million Americans.
Many of these regulations are based on the principle that respiratory droplets carrying the disease generally land within 6 feet of an infected individual. However, a recent study has found live aerosolized virus at a distance of seven to 16 feet from patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
While the findings have not yet been peer reviewed, the study from the University of Florida indicates that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can not only be transmitted through large droplets but can also be aerosolized into smaller particles and breathed into the lungs. This has serious implications for those spending time indoors with potentially infectious individuals — even if a distance of 6 feet is kept.
Previously, the idea of aerosolized viral particles playing a role in the transmission of the novel coronavirus had been controversial, as scientists were unable to isolate viable virus particles from clinically generated aerosols, according to the study.
Although there is an active debate between medical scientists and healthcare frontline workers on whether the virus spreads through large droplets or aerosols, there is no debate about the prescribed conditions of every hospital. Most hospitals have represented that they are in full compliance with the standards. But very few have accurate data to verify the airflow conditions.
It is more important than ever for public facilities, particularly healthcare buildings, to manage airflow and filtration and to mitigate the spread of infection through testing and monitoring HVAC systems. With better reporting, data management and testing, hospitals can minimize risk and prevent hospital acquired infections (HOA), reduce absenteeism and protect patients, staff, tenants and customers.
Have questions about your facility’s HVAC system and whether it meets the current standards? Contact our team to learn more about our testing, balancing and reporting software that allows hospitals and businesses to improve compliance, reduce costs and save lives.