‘Ventilation played a role in the spread of the virus’

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The ventilation system in a nursing home in Maassluis has contributed to the spread of the Covid 19 virus. This is evident from a RIVM report that is in the hands of the TV program EenVandaag.

In one department of the Tweemaster in Maassluis, 17 residents and 18 employees fell ill. The virus killed six residents. The GGD Rotterdam investigated the ventilation system after the major outbreak and reported it to RIVM, the current affairs program reports. The investigation revealed that the mesh of the ventilation system and the air conditioning in a living room of the nursing home contained particles of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 RNA).

Recirculation in system

The energy-efficient ventilation system in the care home was placed in a renovation a few years ago. The system only refreshes the air based on CO2 indication. This means when the air quality remains below 1000 ppm, the system only recirculates air through a heat exchanger, and therefore does not mix with outside air. This air is then blown back into space unfiltered. However, there is no connection to other rooms via the ventilation system. The ventilation boxes with filters only operate when there is a carbon dioxide indication. These electrostatic filters filter the incoming and outgoing air. According to ventilation expert Peter Uges, who asked for a response from EenVandaag, recirculation should have been prevented by supplying 100% fresh air.

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Throughout the corona crisis, there has been debate about the role of ventilation systems and tiny droplets, called aerosols, that could linger in the air longer. RIVM has always said that with adequate ventilation with outside air, there is no great risk of the coronavirus spreading through small particles. Techniek Nederland has also always conformed to the RIVM position, with the advice: always ensure that you ventilate sufficiently. According to the business association, installation companies are asked about ventilation technology and their role in the spread of the virus.

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