ventilation and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Unfortunately, it was impossible for me to work from home during COVID-19.

My office handles secure files, and we couldn’t risk the potential security breaches associated with remote work. We asked our IT manager if we could use our own laptops from home to access the secure file server; that almost pushed him to the brink. So, we continued working in the office, but we took precautions. Mask-wearing was required. But, we also made a lot of changes to our ventilation process. Since we knew that the illness was spread via droplets, we figured that keeping a constant airflow would decrease our likelihood of any droplets lingering for too long. All of the windows in the office were open during business hours, and we purchased window fans to create cross breezes. While we rarely need to use our air conditioning system (our region has a very mild climate), we kept the A/C system’s fan running 24/7 (even when we weren’t in the office). We set up various box fans around the office, so that the air wouldn’t linger in any place for too long. We also kept the ventilation fans in the bathrooms running all day. The HEPA filters that we bought worked well, too. We ultimately weren’t sure if the special air filters would pick up COVID droplets, but figured that it was better to be safe than sorry. Before doing all of this, we sought advice from our company’s trusted HVAC company; they told us that these were all great ideas, even if they weren’t the most efficient. We figured it was worth the energy cost if it kept us from getting sick. By the time everyone began getting vaccinated, none of us had ever had a positive COVID test. I think our ventilation adjustments worked!



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