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Jul 23, 2021

When the push comes to shove – is it all about air after all?

Is your hospital safe enough for patients and staff when it comes to airborne infections? Do you know how the air is moving in all the different areas in your facility?

New research* shows that COVID-19 is to be seen as an airborne transmitted infection. The inhalation of aerosols from an infected person is thought to be the primary transmission route. With these newly updated findings, the safety guidelines have been revised. Last month the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) updated their Airborne Transmission Guidance with the following statement**:

“Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is significant and should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.”

— ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force

“This may seem like a small step, but we feel it is important to leave no doubt about our position, given the muted support for ventilation and filtration as important tools in the effort to stop the pandemic, from some organizations that should be leading more strongly.”

— William P. Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E., ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force chair

Most areas in the hospital are using mixing ventilation, which dilutes airborne virus particles and bacteria. However, the mixing of air does not control how the air is moving! Viruses and bacteria will inevitably whirl around in the room and may end up being inhaled or deposit into wounds, which can lead to infections. 

“Mixing ventilation means random movement of air. You can think of it like everyone in a room needs to evacuate, but nobody knows where the exit is. It is just not efficient!”

— Prof Sture Holmberg, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

The key is to control the movement of air. With better air flow distribution such as Temperature-controlled Airflow (TcAF) the movement pattern of the air can be controlled, and this is something else than just adding more air into the room. With a highly efficient ventilation system the airflow is protecting what needs to be protected, and contaminants are swept away from the critical area, such as wounds or inhalation pathways. When you know how the air is moving, you can act with confidence and focus on the care instead of fearing for your own and your patient’s safety.

Not only improving the indoor air quality, the TcAF technology is also sustainable with lower energy consumption than mixing ventilation due to its higher efficiency. TcAF also ensures the most comfortable working environment for staff with reduced noise and air draught from ventilation. Altogether, TcAF systems are reliable, resilient, and robust.

We are here to help you and make sure that besides air changes and filtration, it is important to secure the direction of air. Viruses and bacteria follow the airflow, and just mixing and dilute is not enough protection for staff and patients. 

Contact us for more information about the innovative Temperature-controlled Air Flow technology – Together Towards Zero Infections.