Living conditions can play a critical role in the spread of infectious diseases – the Spanish Flu, measles outbreaks in schools, SARS, Coronavirus, etc. If buildings can make things worse by not keeping up with proper living conditions, then they can also make things a lot better for occupants – students, teachers, employees, etc.
We are still trying to learn about the new Coronavirus, but there is evidence that such viruses can spread via large droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. More broadly, emerging Coronaviruses can also be spread through small particles in the air – droplet nuclei, through contact with infected surfaces – fomite transmission and through a fecal-oral route.
Even with this uncertainty, we can enlist commercial businesses and buildings to help us fight infectious diseases. Based on research, it has been found that when ventilation and filtration rates increased above industry minimums, and when air purifiers were used to supplement the building systems, there is a 50% reduction in the relative risk of transmission. Other studies show that higher outdoor air ventilation rates and better filtration can reduce the risk from influenza, rhinovirus, tuberculosis and SARS.
Good news! It is easy to improve ventilation and filtration in most buildings. For those with mechanical systems, it is important to make sure the system is on whenever the building is occupied, rather than just 8 am to 5 pm, and then increase the rates of fresh air being brought in. For buildings without central systems – schools, etc., opening windows plays a role in flushing out stale indoor air. Controlling airflow between rooms helps to prevent cross-contamination.
Another important mechanism for limiting the spread of disease is routine surface cleaning. One study found SARS Coronavirus RNA on 30% of hospital surfaces, including patient rooms, handrails and computers. Regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces makes a difference, especially in areas where disease can be present.
It is important to put our buildings to work for us to help fight against infectious diseases – Coronavirus, Influenza, etc. But even the healthiest buildings need support from the right commercial service providers. System4 Facilities Services Management is an industry leader in commercial cleaning, disinfecting and repair and maintenance services. We specialize in creating customized solutions to fit the unique needs of your facility. We are your one-point-of-contact for all facility service provider needs. Our vast network of experienced, vetted service providers is well-prepared to meet and exceed your expectations.