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Surge Capacity Air Quality Options

At Wold Architects and Engineers, we strive to do all we can to assist healthcare facilities in meeting their community’s health needs. To that end, we are offering our experienced team of healthcare engineers as a resource for healthcare facilities to support them as they prepare to care for the surge of COVID-19 patients. We are available to assist facilities teams study patient isolation options as it relates to augmenting existing or temporary building systems to help provide a safely segregated, air-controlled environment for the frontline staff and the patients under their care.

We have explored different options from Critical Access Hospitals to Community Hospitals to Urban Medical Centers and those studies have included reviewing:

Small Scale Surge Capacity

Identify options available to create additional temporary negative pressure isolation rooms in existing facilities.

  • Portable HEPA machine to Corridor
  • Portable HEPA machine to Outside
  • Portable HEPA machine to Return
  • Adjust existing fans to increase exhaust airflow
  • Adjust existing fans to increase return airflow and adjust dampers to exhaust all return air to the outdoors in lieu or recirculating.

Analyze which rooms are ideal for converting into temporary negative pressure isolation rooms.

  • Patient rooms located closest to the air handler will typically have less impact on the air handling system.

Determine ventilation time required before the re-use of rooms to remove potentially infectious particles

  • Calculate room air changes per hour based upon room volume and measured airflow in the room.
  • Utilize CDC guidelines to determine the time required for 90%, 99%, and 99.9% removal of airborne contaminants.

Large Scale Surge Capacity

Identify ways to convert entire suites to accommodate COVID-19 patients.

  • Utilize smoke zones as the perimeter of an infectious disease zone.
  • Create anteroom between the infectious disease zone and the rest of the hospital.
  • Adjust fans to create negative pressure suites.
  • Adjust air handler controls to relieve all return air to the outdoors.

Recommend filtration and/or air purification strategies.

  • HEPA Filter Additions
  • Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation
  • Negative Air Ionization

Analyze how system changes will impact building pressure balances.

  • Fan speed adjustments, filtration changes, and portable HEPAs can all impact building pressure balances and may require a rebalancing of systems.

We are one community and we will all be affected in one way or another by this pandemic. Wold looks forward to doing all we can to help contribute to ensuring that every patient who needs it has access to a properly equipped medical facility and that every healthcare staff member is working under the safest conditions possible. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our healthcare engineers as a resource during this time of crisis.

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