Covid-19 Recommendations

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AIR FILTERING AND VENTILATION IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19
1

The region’s industry association for manufacturers of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) equipment, calls on healthcare facilities, building owners, operators, and facility management providers to carefully observe the following Industry recommendations to reduce the risks related to the spread of airborne viruses through ventilation and air conditioning systems and to support the government in its efforts to contain the outbreak.

 

INTRODUCTION

On 31st December, 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health and Sanitation Commission (Hubei Province, China) reported on a cluster of 27 cases of pneumonia of unknown causes, with a common exposure to a seafood, fish and live animal wholesale market in Wuhan City, including seven cases with serious symptoms. The first case began with fever, dry cough, breathlessness, and radiological findings of bilateral pulmonary infiltrates on 8th December, 2019.

On 7th January, 2020, the Chinese authorities identified as the causative agent of the outbreak a new type of virus from the Coronaviridae family that has subsequently been named SARSCoV-2, whose genetic sequence was shared by the Chinese authorities on 12th January. The disease caused by this new virus has been internationally recognised as COVID-19.

According to current evidence, the incubation period is estimated to be 5 days (range 2-14 days). The disease mainly affects people between 30 and 79 years old, being very rare among those under 20 years of age. The fatality rate is estimated at approximately 2% (95% CI 0.5-4%). 80% of the identified cases present a mild condition and 20% may have more serious clinical symptoms, in most of these cases the patients presented underlying diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease.

Royal Decree 463/2020 of March 14 on which the state of Alarm has been declared (Spain):

1
Under the provisions of article four, sections b) and d), of Organic Law 4/1981, of June 1, on states of alarm, exceptional circumstances and siege, the state of alarm is declared in order to face the health emergency situation caused by the coronavirus COVID-19

The current crisis highlights the responsibilities of HVACR engineers, along with service and maintenance personnel, building owners and operators to carefully evaluate building’s ventilation systems and their conditions. Adequate ventilation, with a higher degree of fresh air supply, use of the correct filter types, and careful maintenance may be important factors in containing the coronavirus outbreak.

Other recommendations include:

1

Evaluating the type of building environment and the required air filter category. Eurovent recommendation 4/23 provides a comprehensive guide on filter selection, which can be downloaded free of charge on the association’s website by clicking here. aquí

Laboratories, hospitals, isolation rooms, quarantine spaces.

  • Filter Type: Relevant HEPA + containment equipment
  • Recomendation: Special care should be taken when replacing filters. Treat them as biohazards! (wear protective masks, suits and gloves)
  • Filter type according to EN1822: 2009 ISO16890: Minimum H14

Other medical facilities, airports, schools, public areas.

  • Filter type: HEPA (recommended) or EPA filters
  • Recomendation: Special care should be taken when replacing filters. Treat them as biohazards! (wear protective masks, suits and gloves)
  • Filter type according to EN1822: 2009 ISO16890: Mínimun H13

Small offices, businesses, private/personal spaces.

  • Filter type: EPA (recomended) or fine dust filter
  • Recomendation: Do not wash the filters. Replace regularly.
  • Filter class according to EN1822: 2009 ISO16890: ePM1 80% or higher

1. Replace existing air filters in case the filter category is unknown, does not meet the requirements stipulated in the recommendation, or in case the pressure drop in the ventilation system exceeds the manufacturer’s guidelines.2. Use only certified filters with proven effectiveness! Certificates issued by Eurovent Certita Certification can be verified online through the following link:
https://www.eurovent-certification.com/en/search-engine#/

3. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters should be mandatory in all sensitive healthcare environments such as hospitals, clinics, quarantine facilities and ambulances, etc.

4. DO NOT cut or make changes/modifications to the air filters to fit you! Tampered filters compromise their efficiency and are rendered useless!

5. DO NOT wash any type of filter, especially HEPA, EPA or ePM1 filters. Replace them!

General considerations

1

 

The new SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease, is transmitted mainly through contact with infected people according to the WHO. Breathing as well as coughing and sneezing release tiny infectious droplets into the air that potentially contaminate surrounding surfaces and, of course, the air in the immediate environment. These droplets, called aerosols, can be of different sizes, from 1 to more than 10 µm (microns or microns, 1 micron equals 0.001 mm). Experts assume that viruses do not freely fly through the air but are always encased in droplets or attached to other particles.

This raises the question of how ventilation and air conditioning systems play a role in the transmission or containment of epidemic diseases like COVID-19. Below, Eurovent Middle East presents brings us basic recommendations, which directly or indirectly influence the spread of viruses and the wellbeing of people in occupied spaces. These recommendations are based on a general industry consensus and should guide benchmarks for best practices regarding air filtration and ventilation during the current crisis.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

1
Indoor air quality has become a popular topic in recent years as more and more countries shift their focus to the health and well-being of building occupants in their day-to-day lives. Most people in the industrialised world spend up to 90% of their time indoors. Exposure to air pollutants, from dust to spores, bacteria, viruses and chemical compounds has a direct influence on people’s immune systems and can cause a variety of conditions, from allergies through to cancer or epidemic diseases such as COVID-19.

 

Air Filtration

1

The selection of air filters depends on the environment where they’ll be used and must be carefully evaluated. Although regular air filters are not designed to prevent the spread of viruses, they are essential to minimise risk as viruses tend to stick to airborne particles and aerosols. Therefore, regular filters with high filtration efficiency (ePM1 filters) are crucial to reducing the risk of airborne diseases. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are mandatory in critical environments such as hospitals and healthcare facilities and can also be recommended for medium risk (high density of people) environments such as airports, schools or other public spaces.

In light of the fact that the COVID-19 crisis severely affects the elderly and people with existing medical conditions, it is also recommended to use HEPA filters in all facilities designed to support, assist, house or care for these risk groups. In general, the industry recommends increasing the efficiency of existing filters during the epidemic.

 

Ventilation

1
Change of air in occupied spaces helps reduce people’s exposure to polluted air. Therefore, an increase in the number of air changes through higher ventilation rates is recommended. Current advice recommends increasing the supply of fresh air and stopping or reducing recirculation when possible. With temperatures still mild in the Middle East, the power consumption cost is at an acceptable.

 

Mantenimiento

1

Regular and carefully performed maintenance is essential for ventilation and air filtration systems to function properly. In light of COVID-19, Eurovent Middle East wants to underline that protective measures for maintenance personnel are of the utmost importance.

1. Replacement of filters should be done with masks and appropriate personal protective equipment. (PPE)

2. Disposal of filters must be done correctly (using sealed bags) and in accordance with local and international regulations.

3. HEPA filters must be treated as biohazard waste products. For critical areas such as quarantine rooms and biosafety laboratories, providing a safe change using the The Bag-in/Bag-out containment system will not only help protect the environment while maintaining negative pressure in the room, but will also help to prevent maintenance personnel from being exposed and infected.

 

Other contamination routes

1

In the sanitation network we can talk about contamination through mephitic odours that are transmitted through particles. These odours reach bathrooms, toilets and kitchens.
If they do not enter the enclosure, it is because there is a hydraulic seal formed by a siphon filled with water, which is what prevents the passage of these particles. When the siphons dry up, odours invade the room. And if, in addition, for any reason there is a small depression that can be caused by a kitchen or bathroom exhaust fan, or by an extraction network, the odours in the room intensify as a greater number of particles are dragged into the environment.

There is a possibility that among those particles that cause odours, coronavirus is present, which would cause it to reach the premises, being encouraged by the depression produced. These particles could potentially permeate walls, ceilings, furniture, accessories, towels, etc.

This virus, which is not very well known, has a different half-life depending on the elements where it is deposited.

It appears that it is somewhat heavier than air and should not rise.

Expand this information

Noticia en prensa

Sources: Ministry of Health (Spain) and Eurovent

We Resolve

Abrir chat
¿Tienes alguna pregunta?
We Resolve Team
¡Hola! Somos We Resolve, especialistas en mantenimiento integral de hoteles y edificios. ¿En qué podemos ayudarte?