A closer look at how it works – PUBLIC HEALTH INSIDER

By Leslie Daniels, Communications Specialist

Improving indoor air quality is one of the most important and long-standing approaches to reducing the spread of COVID-19. With the emergence of lower-cost options that can make a difference, Public Health has worked with childcare providers to reduce the spread of the virus and to promote other health benefits by improving indoor air quality.

For childcare providers that have survived business closures due to the pandemic, easing parents’ concerns about their children’s health and safety has been a top priority. Regularly disinfecting surfaces and vacuuming carpets is important, but children can still inhale particles such as dust mites, allergens and pollen that hang above the floor where children play and sleep. This is why improving air quality can make a big difference and have benefits for all children, including those with asthma.

Here’s how it works: Ventilation draws more outdoor air into indoor spaces to dilute the virus and other pollutants. Filtration removes viruses and contaminants by trapping them in a filter.

As a caregiver, you can take steps to improve air quality by 1) regularly maintaining heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) systems and ensuring they are operating at the highest ventilation and filtration the system allows, 2) portable to make use of. HEPA air cleaners, and 3) open your windows if possible.

The short clips below show how it works on the ground.

Getting started and accessing technical assistance to improve indoor air quality

We spoke with Daniel Hwang, Health and Environmental Investigator, to find out about steps childcare providers can take to improve indoor air quality. Our indoor air experts visited Ouma Lucy Kindersorg in Burien to determine what the space looks like and what needs to be done to help improve the air quality.

HEPA filters and small spaces

Ventilation needs may vary from one space to another. From opening windows, to putting a HEPA cleaner in your home-based childcare, to making a DIY square air filter, there are many different options to help improve ventilation and filtration to make it safer for staff and children.

On this particular visit, the Public Health Team was working to find ways to improve ventilation in a small space where opening windows is not feasible due to outdoor pollution.

How a HEPA filter works to remove COVID-19 from the air

Our technical assistance team answers questions that childcare providers like Cecilia, owner of Ouma Lucy Kindersorg, may have, such as how HEPA filters work to clean the air and reduce the risk of COVID-19. Here, Cecilia shows how easy it is to use the portable HEPA air cleaner.

Technical assistance available

Public Health is offering free technical assistance to help child care programs in King County improve their ventilation and air quality.

Complete the Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality Assistance Request Form to get started. For assistance with the form or an interpreter, please contact IAQinfo@kingcounty.gov or 206-477-5166.

Additional resources:

Originally posted 6/23/22

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