As we collectively brace for the next COVID-19 wave fueled by the delta variant, the experience is not unlike preparing for a natural disaster like a hurricane. With numbers spiking across the country, now seems like a good time to prepare for the oncoming storm with the tools and resources to stay safe, while gripping tightly to any amount of normalcy we’ve reclaimed since the CDC began easing restrictions due to increased vaccine availability.
The spread of the coronavirus has been severe in Florida and other parts of the southeastern United States, which is also an area, as conditions dictate, bracing for an actual hurricane, with the region heading into the height hurricane season.
Considering this, President Biden recently spoke to reporters about preparing for the avoidable in the face of the inescapable.
“We can’t prevent hurricanes from making landfall, but we can prevent people from getting seriously sick and dying from COVID-19,” he said. “If you wind up having to stay in a shelter, you don’t want to add COVID-19 to the list of dangers.”
And, of course, he’s right.
However, beyond pursuing the vaccine to protect yourself against COVID-19, make sure any shelter you’re seeking provides protection from dangers outdoors and indoors.
A protective shelter is only as effective as its ability to prevent potentially harmful airborne threats. For those who depend on these structures, containment is essential, but equally important is a shelter’s ability to eliminate possible contaminants that can lead to the transmission of disease.
Meaning, that while it’s important for a shelter to protect its occupants from environmental hazards, because of the current pandemic, shelters should now also be able to treat and sterilize the air internally.
Besides being employed for emergencies and COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites, because of the pandemic, outdoor shelters and enclosures have also become commonplace for commercial use.
Restaurants, retailers, and public events have turned to shelters amid infection concerns to keep their businesses going and to allow patrons the ability to still enjoy some of the luxuries from pre-pandemic life. But while shelters can offer a safer alternative to traditional indoor sites, they still present several public safety and air quality challenges.
Shelters can provide a false sense of security of being “outdoors,” and because of their small scale, they can lead to packing people too close together. Shelters can restrict proper ventilation. Sites should pursue ways to clean potentially contaminated air before it can infect those within the nearby vicinity.
As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, refugee centers and camps have been affected as well.
Similar to emergency shelters used to protect against natural disasters, refugee shelters are built to provide immediate protection and help to people forced to flee their homes due unavoidable circumstances. While refugee shelters do not provide permanent solutions, they offer a haven for refugees and meet their most basic needs during emergencies.
In situations of long-term displacement, refugees with an array of health ailments are housed close together in shelters. Not only does this present considerable danger to refugees individually, but in these cases, using poorly ventilated shelters is of particular concern to our overall public health.
Because refugees may have fewer opportunities to be vaccinated against COVID-19, it is essential that we make sure the shared air in these settings is properly cleaned to reduce the potential for viral outbreaks.
You can breathe easier with SteriSpace. SteriSpace is a first-of-its-kind, military-grade technology that works to sterilize the air, killing >99.9999% destroys all biological contaminants including bacterial spores, vegetative bacteria, and viruses similar to COVID-19 within milliseconds.
SteriSpace is ideal for hard or soft shell shelters and is fully scalable to integrate with a wide range of applications. Even without access to an HVAC system, SteriSpace can integrate into your shelter to improve air quality and neutralize airborne contaminants. By integrating SteriSpace into a shelter, its 250 CFM air compressor can conduct up to 12 air exchanges per hour, satisfying CDC guidelines for infection control while effectively sterilizing the air.
Contact one of our air sterilization consultants to see how SteriSpace can work with your shelter to keep yourself or the patrons of your business safe from harmful airborne contaminants!
What we know about how COVID-19 spreads is constantly developing, and as a result, public health guidance will continue to evolve. In the meantime, it is important to follow valid resources that include the World Health Organization and the CDC when researching COVID-19.