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Weekly COVID-19 Update: New Guidance on Airborne Transmission

4/12/2021
ANSI News

The ANSI Federation and standardization community are stepping up with guidance, resources, and initiatives to support public health, safety, and infrastructure during the COVID-19 outbreak. Suggestions for news items may be submitted to pr@ansi.org. All submissions are published at ANSI's discretion.

ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Releases Updated Airborne Transmission Guidance

The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force last week released an updated unequivocal statement concerning airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in buildings.

According to ASHRAE's statement: “Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is significant and should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures."

The statement updates ASHRAE's guidance statement in April 2020 that said airborne transmission was “sufficiently likely” that airborne precautions should be taken. ASHRAE notes that at that time, both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC), contended that transmission of SARS-CoV2 was "by droplet and fomite modes, not airborne." Subsequently, both have acknowledged the risk of airborne transmission indoors.

“This may seem like a small step, but we feel it is important to leave no doubt about our position, given the muted support for ventilation and filtration as important tools in the effort to stop the pandemic, from some organizations that should be leading more strongly,” said William P. Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E., ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force chair.

Read more about the update and the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force, which has been developing and disseminating guidance for the control of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 since its formation in March 2020.

See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response

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