Workplace Considerations – The Built Environment and COVID-19 Transmission

An article appeared on April 7th, in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, focused on guidance to decision makers for the built environment —owners, facility managers, building operators, and occupants attempting to minimize infectious disease transmission through environmentally mediated pathways. The paper, based on research at the University of Oregon and University of California-Davis “2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Built Environment Considerations to Reduce Transmission,” synthesizes the microbiology of the built environment (BE) research and the known information about SARS-CoV-2.\

The paper provides a look at the transmission dynamics of COVID-19 within the BE ecosystem and the human behavior, spatial dynamics, and building operational factors that potentially promote and mitigate the spread and transmission of COVID-19. What the authors call a “sharing economy” – i.e., shared workspaces such as co-work environments, lunchrooms, conference spaces and hotels, may increase the potential for environmentally mediated pathways of exposure. Also, for example, single occupancy vehicle trips are now often replaced with rideshare programs or public transportation networks, where the potential for exposure may increase.

The figure below shows the Conceptualization of SARS-CoV-2 deposition.

  1. Ann Malone

    Fresh air through the envelope with open windows to dilute virus, natural sunlight to degrade virus, decoupling heating and ventilation since even HEPA filters aren’t sufficient……sounds like the beginning of the end for the post-space program airtight HVAC’d box experiment.

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