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What ventilation considerations should businesses have to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus?

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is transmitted through the air (for more information see the FAQ on mask use). Consequently, Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems play an important role in reducing the spread of coronavirus and other pathogens. The following guidance can improve the efficiency of your HVAC system:

·  Maintain your HVAC system by getting annual inspections and regularly changing filters at least every 6 months. Replace worn parts as needed.

·  Consider supplemental air cleaners such as portable cleaners with a HEPA filter or a high-MERV rated filter with a Clean Air Delivery Rate that is sufficient for the space.

·  Keep HVAC systems running if anyone is present in the workspace to keep air moving.

·  When possible, open windows or doors to allow for more airflow and move appropriate tasks outside.

Sources and Additional Resources

·  COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

·  Coronavirus disease: Ventilation and air conditioning in public spaces and buildings from the World Health Organization

·  HVAC Standards and Guidelines from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers

This FAQ was written in consultation with Carolina PROSPER. For more information about their work in helping North Carolina businesses to survive and thrive during the pandemic, visit their website and follow them on social media (@NCOSHERC on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn). Their full report on Workplace Safety & Health During COVID-19 is also available here.

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