Virus-filtered room air in open-plan offices, public authorities and public facilities

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Hepa air purifiers neutralize virulent aerosol clouds in the indoor air of large occupied zones.

Open-plan offices, museums, public institutions and authorities share a common problem: In areas with a high volume of visitors, there is always a risk that pathogenic airborne particles, allergens, spores, bacteria and viruses will spread through the air. This is the case when renewing an ID card at the local citizen service office, registering or deregistering a car at the road traffic office, but also during working hours in an open-plan office, in a call center, and so on.

It is not without reason that many people, especially in times of rampant flu epidemics and other disease-causing epidemics caused by the norovirus or the SARS-CoV-2 (corona virus), reduce the amount of time they spend in enclosed spaces or buildings where many people congregate in a confined space. If, for example, visits to museums or cinemas can still be avoided in times of crisis, some visits to the authorities are, on the other hand, unavoidable, and anyone working in an office with many colleagues has no option but to hope that the indoor air in the office is as uncontaminated as possible. An important component of an effective hygiene concept to protect against aerogenic infections is keeping the room air free of viruses through effective air purification using professional solutions with true Hepa filtering.

Corona banned from the building

Even in “normal” times, open-plan offices, public authorities or public institutions sometimes have an above-average level of pollutants in the indoor air, as documented by various studies.

Even this load of fine dust, microfibers and mold spores can pose a risk to the health of the people present. And in times of rampant epidemics, the risk of aerogenic infection from airborne viruses is potentiated.

Scientific studies show, for example, that the Sars-CoV-2 virus can survive for several hours as airborne particles and retain its infectious effects. Other pathogens, such as the noro or influenza virus, can also travel great distances in airborne form. And the more people there are in a room at the same time, the greater the risk that pathogenic germs, viruses and bacteria will spread throughout the occupied area via the exchange of air.
Commercially available partition walls only separate people, but not the virus-laden air.

Aerosols with attached viruses floating freely in the air are characterized by exactly this: they float freely in the room air! This is why conventional partition walls can only be used to separate people, but not the virus-laden air. Spit shields or partitions installed between individual workstations or at waiting counters alone cannot prevent the spread of viruses via the air. This is because conventional partition walls made of PVC glas or other constructions and also mouth-nose protective masks protect against the direct “virus spray” of a moist pronunciation, but not against germ-contaminated aerosols that are released into the room air when speaking and exhaling and continue to float around freely there as an aerosol cloud for several hours. However, partition walls with a surrounding aerosol protection edge are an effective alternative here!
Airborne viruses know no distance rules

The combined use of masks and partitions with a surrounding aerosol protective edge is an important first approach to reducing the risk of direct droplet infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, this measure alone does not protect against a far greater risk of infection – the aerosol clouds floating freely in the room air!

Even when speaking, people emit not only large, visible droplets as a kind of “virus spray” but also, to a much greater extent, tiny aerosol particles into the room air, which are invisible to the naked eye and to which bacteria or viruses also adhere in infected people.
Aerosol clouds spread like clouds of smoke, only invisible

The aerosol cloud of simultaneously emitted micro-fine droplets spreads – comparable to smoke clouds – several meters high and far all over the room and in this way easily overcomes the physical barrier of a spit shield or partition wall, which is why the aerosol particles can thus also easily reach the respiratory tract and eyes of other people who are behind the partition wall. Protecting employees, citizens and visitors with a 360-degree hygiene concept

Only a synchronized overall solution consisting of direct “spit protection” by means of partition walls with a surrounding aerosol protection edge and additional high-frequency air purification reliably and permanently reduces the risk of infection. Therefore, do not rely solely on physical barriers by means of mouth-nose masks and partition walls to protect your employees and guests. The aerosols in the room air do not adhere to distance rules – as potential virus carriers, they are the real source of danger! The primary goal must therefore be to prevent the breathing air of the persons present as far as possible.

What to do when home office is not an option?

Home office seems to be the order of the day. However, the implementation of home office is simply not possible in many companies, the same also for numerous authorities. For these cases a true Hepa air purifier can offer you effective infection protection solutions to make your workplaces infection-proof.

In open-plan offices, coronavirus can spread at an alarming rate, as the US health authority CDC sums up in a recent investigation:
A recent incident from the South Korean capital of Seoul shows how quickly coronavirus can spread through indoor air in the workplace.

In an open-plan office with almost 100 workplaces, a single employee who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus infected more than 90 other colleagues and residents – without having had any direct personal contact.

Despite the employer’s rapid response, more than 90 employees became infected before the first case was discovered. The very next day, the responsible authority then ordered a closure of the entire high-rise building with a total of more than 900 employees and 200 residents in order to break the chains of infection. However, by then it was already too late! 94 colleagues in the open-plan office and 3 residents of the multi-storey high-rise building had already been infected with the coronavirus, according to the CDC report.

It is important to note that it can be virtually ruled out that the person who tested positive first had direct personal contact with all of the other approximately 100 infected persons (colleagues and building residents). Rather, it can be assumed that aerosols coughed up or contaminated with viruses when speaking were spread with the air in the open-plan office or in the elevator and inhaled by the other employees or residents. It is worth mentioning in this context that there is currently no obligation to wear masks in offices, which at least reduce the droplet and aerosol clouds.

High-frequency air purification for highly frequented occupied areas.

If the room air can be kept free of germs and viruses, then the aerogenic risk of infection is also minimized. True Hepa air purifiers have been developed precisely for this task, because they effectively and quickly reduce the dwell time and intensity of aerosol and suspended matter clouds in enclosed spaces, thus creating a place of activity for employees and visitors with a greatly reduced risk of infection.

Directly at its installation site, the mobile air purifier creates a clean “clean-air zone” flushed with virus-filtered pure air. In this zone, the ambient air remains largely free of airborne germs and viruses and free of aerosol particles. Effective against bacteria and virus conglomerates

High-quality air purifiers are equipped with HEPA high-performance air filters of class H14 according to EN 1822, which separate more than 99.995 % of all fine suspended particles larger than 0.1 µm and have a transmittance of only 0.005 %. Or to put it another way: out of 100,000 particles, a maximum of only five pass through the H14 filter. Thanks to this first-class property, such high-performance filters are also used in operating rooms to produce clean air and in comparable hygiene-sensitive areas. These are ideal conditions for keeping the air in open-plan offices, call centers, public facilities, coworking spaces and other busy areas free of germs and viruses in times of rampant epidemics.

Well-known virus strains such as the SARS-CoV, the MERS-CoV or even the Covid-19 have a particle size of 0.005 µm to 0.1 µm. Usually combined with other particles, such as saliva, suspended particles, etc., they form conglomerates with a size between 0.4 µm and 0.5 µm. These conglomerates are also called germs and are reliably separated by the high-performance air filters.

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