DOH wants improved ventilation in enclosed areas

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    THE Department of Health (DOH) is pushing for the improvement of ventilation systems in enclosed areas to avoid the potential airborne transmission of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as contained in a warning issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of the United States.

    In its Department Memorandum No. 2020-0429 issued last October 8, the DOH said there is a need “to address possible administrative and engineering controls that can be utilized in enclosed, indoor spaces to improve ventilation and lessen transmission of pathogens.”

    COVID-19 has initially been reported as being transmitted via droplet and contact transmission. Last week, however, the CDC said the virus may also spread through tiny particles suspended in the air, especially in poorly ventilated and enclosed crowded spaces.

    The memo, signed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, said open air spaces should always be prioritized in conducting activities involving groups of people. When an activity cannot be moved into an open air setting, it said opening windows and doors should be put into practice to let outdoor air into the space.

    The DOH also said individuals should not be situated directly in the flow of air coming from fans and air-conditioners, electric fans, and air-conditioning units as it may facilitate transmission of the virus.

    It also urged the use of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration air purifiers in order to clean recirculated air, provided that the unit is adequate for the size of the room in which it is installed in.