Canadian Consulting Engineer

ASHRAE addresses COVID-19 crisis with infection control course

March 25, 2020


This illustration, created at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Photo Credit: CDC; Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAMS.

On Apr. 7, ASHRAE will offer a timely online course focusing on the role of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in infection control for health-care facilities.

“Although COVID-19 is not considered an airborne contagion, it appears it can be transmitted through aerosols, the movement and concentration of which can be influenced by HVAC systems,” explains the course’s instructor, Dan Koenigshofer, a semi-retired hospital engineer and consultant. “The design and operation strategies in this course may be helpful during the current pandemic. Infection control is a primary purpose of HVAC systems in hospitals and it’s important for engineers to understand methods to remove and reduce airborne aerosols.”

Titled ‘Designing and Operating High-Performing Healthcare HVAC Systems,’ the three-hour course–one of 11 in ASHRAE’s spring series–will refer to design standards for ventilation and discuss the probability and costs of hospital-associated infections (HAIs), air change rates and levels of filtration, engineering methods to maintain proper temperature and humidity, pressurization to move air from clean to less-clean areas, limited air velocity with relation to deposition and thermal plume and the design of protective isolation rooms, emergency departments, operating rooms (ORs) and sterile processing departments.

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