Study Finds Using the Environment Can Reduce Risk of COVID-19 Indoors

Source: ronstik/123RF

A study by the American Society for Microbiology has found that universities, school districts, places of worship, prisons, health care facilities, assisted living organizations, daycares, homeowners, and other building owners and occupants have an opportunity to reduce the potential for transmission of COVID-19 through built-environment (BE).

Opening windows and blinds to improve airflow and increase natural light are some of the simple steps employers, building managers, and workers can take to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in offices and other workplaces, according to the research.

By opening windows, the rate of airflow can dilute virus particles indoors, an April 10 UC Davis press release states.

The downside is that high amounts of airflow also can push particles back into the air and cause more energy use.

Further, maintaining a high relative humidity indoors can help, because virus particles “like drier air.” High humidity also increases the size of virus particles, “meaning they settle out more quickly and don’t travel as far.”

However, recent guidance issued by the CDC sheds new light on how coronavirus spreads through surfaces.

Though there is the possibility that coronavirus could be transmitted by touching a surface — and then your nose, mouth, or eyes — the likelihood of that is lower than person-to-person contact, which is believed to be the primary way coronavirus is transmitted.

The CDC points out that while chances aren’t high, the risk is still there.

Increased handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces – where viral particles can survive for a few hours to a few days – are important practices for all workplaces.

Workers responsible for cleaning and disinfecting workspaces can find online a sortable, searchable, and printable list of Environmental Protection Agency-approved disinfectants for use against the virus.