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The scientific understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, has changed over the past year as experts and researchers have learned more about the novel coronavirus.

In October of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially acknowledged that COVID-19 can be spread through tiny particles in the air—not just through large respiratory droplets emitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes. However, research is unclear about all the conditions that facilitate airborne transmission and the proportion of infections that are acquired through airborne transmission.

According to the CDC, there are certain “special circumstances” in which airborne transmission may occur. These include:

  1. Enclosed spaces in which an infected person produced respiratory droplets for longer than 30 minutes. The CDC said that in some cases enough virus was present in these spaces to “cause infections in people who were more than 6 feet away or who passed through that space soon after the infectious person had left.”
  2. Prolonged exposure to respiratory droplets, usually through droplets produced through exertion like singing or exercising.
  3. Inadequate ventilation or air handling that allows a buildup of respiratory droplets and particles in an enclosed space.

To prevent the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the CDC recommends social distancing, use of masks in public, hand hygiene, surface disinfection and proper ventilation.

Facilities such as hospitals and other public buildings can also monitor and analyze air pressure and flow through their HVAC systems to ensure pathogens are contained and not spread between patients or between patients and staff.

Life Balance Technologies helps hospitals and other companies easily analyze air quality conditions and effectively manage their HVAC systems. By streamlining the process for compliance, auditing, and reporting, we help reduce costs and save lives.