Understanding the Need for Ventilators During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has caused a global health crisis, with many people becoming seriously ill and requiring medical assistance. Estimates suggest that around 6% of those infected with COVID-19 may need a ventilator to help them breathe. A ventilator is a machine that pushes air into the lungs of a patient who is having difficulty breathing. The patient is sedated and a tube is inserted into their trachea and connected to the ventilator.

In some cases, people with COVID-19 may be able to use a respirator with a mask if they are having difficulty breathing or their oxygen levels are low. Aircraft cabins are equipped with HEPA filters that can eliminate viruses and germs quickly, reducing the risk of exposure to any possible infectious virus or bacteria expelled by coughing or sneezing. The air supply is essentially sterile and free of particles. Reoccupying a building during the pandemic does not usually require new ventilation systems, but upgrades or improvements to the existing system can increase clean air delivery and dilute potential contaminants.

Experienced HVAC professionals should be consulted when considering changes to HVAC systems and equipment. There are several ventilation interventions that can help reduce the concentration of virus particles in the air, such as placing HVAC supply and exhaust grilles, creating pressure differentials between adjacent spaces, and using accessories to disinfect air as it circulates through mechanical ventilation, ceiling fans, or natural air movement. These interventions may reduce the risk of exposure to the virus and reduce its spread, but they will not eliminate it completely. The ventilation circuit includes pressurized medical oxygen and air inlet, manual resuscitator reservoir, connections, valves, filters and lines that go directly to the patient.

Ensuring adequate ventilation and outdoor air rates is an important step in ensuring good indoor air quality. Ventilation is an essential process for bringing fresh air from outside to inside and letting indoor air out in order to maintain or improve air quality.