A leading trade organisation has called for clean air technologies and strategies to be adopted by every healthcare facility in the UK in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Information is emerging rapidly about how the coronavirus can be spread around buildings leading indoor air quality (IAQ). During the Building Engineering Services Association’s (BESA) latest daily COVID-19 update webinar, experts agreed on the need for more proactive measures to tackle airborne contaminants and to manage air flows to keep patients and healthcare workers safe.
An online poll conducted during the webinar revealed that 70% of attendees recognised that ventilation had a role to play in combating the coronavirus and 73% believed there would be some changes to the way ventilation was used in the UK as the result of the current crisis.
Richard Greenwood of technology firm Radic8 said the ventilation industry had a crucial role to play both during and after the pandemic. He commented: “We need to combine ventilation strategies with plug and play clean air technologies to get on top of the threat. Airflow direction is key as we need to pull the air away from patients and those treating them.”
Radic8 was founded in South Korea, which has been one of the most successful countries in suppressing the spread of COVID-19. Here, air cleaning systems are standard practice in every healthcare facility.
Mr Greenwood said swab testing would be needed to gauge the level of contamination building up inside ductwork and air handling units that might then be spread around occupied spaces, but he also called for a wholesale change to cleaning strategies.
He continued: “A lot of people are using very harsh chemicals, which has a knock-on effect for allergic conditions like asthma. We need to increase our use of probiotics, which work on the principle of bringing indoor spaces to life rather than just killing everything – both good and bad.”
BESA chief executive David Frise, who chaired the webinar, said the evidence presented by Mr Greenwood showed that the ventilation hygiene industry would play a crucial part in making buildings safe particularly when the country started to emerge from lockdown.
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