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This summer, Americans became well acquainted with the concept of remaining six feet apart to limit the spread of disease. “Social distancing” precautions were adopted across the country to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

However, recent evidence indicates that six feet of distance may not be enough, particularly indoors. A study from the University of Florida found that SARS-CoV-2 can not only be transmitted through large respiratory droplets, but can also be aerosolized into smaller particles and breathed into the lungs. The study found that these airborne particles were present up to 16 feet away from infected hospital patients.

As businesses and schools begin to reopen, experts are recommending upgraded air systems and other ventilation measures to prevent the virus from spreading indoors. Buildings with recirculated air could pose an infection risk by creating more and longer exposure to airborne particles.

An article from the Wall Street Journal states that public spaces like school classrooms should circulate completely fresh air between four and six times each hour in order to reduce the accumulation of viral particles and prevent the spread of infection. The article cites the U.S Government Accountability Office as reporting that 41 percent of public school districts need to replace their HVAC systems.

HVAC systems bring fresh air into buildings and pull out the old air. Ideally, these systems exhaust more air than they supply, creating what is called “negative air pressure” and limiting the chance that airborne particles spread from room to room.

In addition to updating and carefully monitoring HVAC systems, experts are recommending that businesses and public facilities incorporate ventilation measures such as opening windows and using air purification systems.

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.