As businesses and buildings reopen after the COVID-19 shutdown, it’s important to ensure that the indoor environment is safe for occupants. Traditionally, the transmission of infections diseases has been assumed to occur through the air, physical contact between persons and by touching contaminated surfaces. Room ventilation acts to dilute and remove infectious airborne droplet nuclei (aerosols). Studies have shown an association between increased infectious illness and decreased ventilation rate. ECOthink Group can help ensure that the indoor environment is safe by testing surfaces for cleaning effectiveness and evaluating the indoor ventilation. Other services offered include worksite-specific COVID-19 prevention plans, training, comprehensive risk assessment of work areas, implementation of control measures, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and evaluation of compliance with worksite safety procedures.
Evaluation of Cleaning Effectiveness
Since it is difficult to test for viruses on surfaces, viable bacteria can be utilized as an indicator. After cleaning and disinfectant procedures have been completed, including the use of virucide, and sufficient time has elapsed for the surface to dry, the surfaces to be tested will be swabbed. The sample will be plated and analyzed by the laboratory for the presence of bacterial colonies. Knowing that sanitized surfaces have no bacteria present can be an indication that there is a small likelihood that other microorganisms could remain viable.
Evaluation of Ventilation
An inspection of Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems can be conducted with a particular focus on ventilation flow rates.Ventilation flow rates can be assessed and compared to the building specifications, building codes and/or ventilation guidelines established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). ECOthink Group can evaluate the indoor ventilation by measuring the air flow rate and volume of the space to calculate air exchanges per hour. Ventilation can also be evaluated by measuring carbon dioxide (CO2) levels within a space. ECOthink uses CO2 dataloggers to measure and record CO2 levels throughout the day. Occupant density, room size, percentage of outdoor air delivered, types of filters used and the number of air exchanges per hour will be considered. Spaces with higher occupant density or susceptible individuals could benefit from higher ventilation rates.