As we return to some sense of what many consider normalcy, we have had to adapt our thinking and keep an open mind in order to make people feel safe. Vaccines do exist and production is ramping up on them, but the virus that causes COVID-19 still exists as well and will continue to exist for some time. Until that day comes, and the virus is considered eradicated, we must find a way to balance between complete societal shutdown and irresponsible, shortsighted gathering. A compromise between economic prosperity and sensible safety measures is attainable.
Gathering in indoor spaces has been considered a risky activity during the pandemic. Restaurants, bars, and gyms have taken the biggest hit, losing business both from closures and then restrictions in capacity. Some areas have had the luxury of expanding or fully transitioning into outdoor dining, which is considered safer and less likely to cause transmission, as air circulates freely. However, in areas such as New York and New Jersey, it has been tougher to do this full heel turn because of the colder climate. The challenge for businesses who either do not have the space to enlarge their outdoor footprint or the weather to rely on outdoor completely is ensuring an indoor space with enough ventilation from the interior or exterior to keep the risk of contracting COVID-19 through airborne droplets low.
This is where CO2 detection comes in. The pandemic has led to a boom in people monitoring the amount of carbon dioxide in spaces. Because we exhale carbon dioxide when we breathe, the idea is to monitor CO2 in the air in order to determine how clean the air is in the space, and thus the likelihood that COVID-19 or other airborne pathogens could be lurking there. The “normal” level of CO2 is anywhere around 415 ppm, and any level higher than that demands a heightened sense of attention. There are several variables to consider when monitoring the CO2 level. The number of people in the room, when larger, will likely lead to a higher CO2 level. If patrons are socially distanced and the ventilation is adequate, then there is likely no cause for concern if the level is somewhere in the 700-1000 ppm range. If the level reaches higher than 1000 ppm, however, there is probably an imbalance in one of the two. The “rebreathe fraction,” the amount of air in a space someone breathes in from another person, can be around 1% at 800 ppm. Since it does not take a large particle to breathe in the virus that causes COVID-19, this could potentially be dangerous based on the variables of the space. And of course, the CO2 monitor has no ability to measure for COVID-19 or any other virus, just the risk level that is represented by the ppm. So even if the ppm of the space is the normal 415 ppm level, you could still be at risk for COVID-19 even with the precautions taken.
The calibration of the instrument is a factor in the accuracy. Bomark sells several instruments, both mounted and portable, that can help you or your business achieve CO2 monitoring. The TSI Quest EVM-7 simultaneously measures particulates and gas concentration in real-time. These monitors measure select toxic gases, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), relative humidity, temperature and air velocity, including CO2 up to 5000 ppm. The RKI GX-6000 is a powerful hand-held instrument that is capable of simultaneously monitoring up to 6 gases, including CO2 up to 10000 ppm. And the RKI Beacon 110 is a fixed system that is microprocessor controlled, versatile, simple to install and operate, and priced to be the industry’s best value single gas detection controller. This instrument can measure CO2 up to 10000 ppm.
We want to help you ensure that your business is safe for you, your employees, and your customers. Keep us in mind as the pandemic continues, and continue to stay safe.