How Can You Reduce the Chance of COVID-19 Spreading Indoors?
Sep 20 2020 Read 1807 Times
As the northern hemisphere transitions into winter, health experts are voicing concerns a shift from outdoor to indoor events will fuel the spread of COVID-19 and trigger a second wave. To reduce the chances of spreading and catching the highly infectious virus, experts have developed a set of best practice guidelines for indoor environments, with a strong focus on ventilation.
Pay attention to “stuffiness”
If a room feels “stuffy” or the air is stale chances are the ventilation is compromised. Studies suggest airborne transmission in confined spaces is one of the most common ways COVID-19 spreads. Without the recommended 10 litres of fresh air per second outlined in pre-coronavirus workplace regulations, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is much higher.
Be wary of air conditioning
While reverse cycle air conditioners can be an effective way to heat and cool spaces, some experts warn that recirculating air and can assist in the spread of COVID-19 indoors. A Centres for Disease Control and Prevention study of a Chinese restaurant explored the potential dangers of air conditioners and the role they can play in spreading the virus to other patrons.
Understand and increase fresh air ratio
Many modern buildings feature tightly sealed windows and rely on ventilation system to circulate air. For employees, discussing fresh air ratios with the building manager can be a good way to maximise clean air and minimise the risk of recirculating the virus through the building.
Regularly check filters
While most modern ventilation systems have filters, they’re not 100% foolproof. Some experts say regularly swabbing filters is a simple yet effective way to detect traces of COVID-19 and prevent it from infecting other people in a building.
One of the most promising ways cities are attempting to reduce the chances of spreading and catching COVID-19 indoors is by remaining outdoors. For example, in Vancouver the city is currently engaged in talks to expand outdoor capacity at venues during the winter. The decision was unanimous, with counsellors saying the plan will support social distancing and COVID-19 health protocols at restaurants, cafes, pubs and breweries across the city.
"We would like to see the patios throughout the winter. We would also like to see expanded use of the patios to non-restaurants. We have a lot of [hair] salons who are looking for extra chairs outside because they also lost capacity," says Annette O'Shea, Executive Director of the Yaletown Business Improvement Association.
While preventative strategies are critical, scientists are also racing to find a vaccine or treatment for COVD-19. To find out more about the latest developments don’t miss ‘Getting a grip on Covid-19 test samples.’
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