The emergence of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the highly infectious SARS- CoV-2 virus at the end of 2019 led the world Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a global pandemic on 11 March 2020.
To ensure protection from COVID-19 while operating, guidelines and traditional working arrangements have been introduced in dental practices to minimise the risk of virus transmission and to promote a safe and effective working environment.
Free Running Buildings alongside Devonshire Quarter Dental Clinic performed a feasibility study to identify the most economic and efficient way to improve the ventilation performance in two surgery rooms in order to reduce the fallow times and increase service provision.
The COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Guidance advise:
- In dental surgeries where the ventilation rate is unknown or between 1 and 5 ACH, a baseline fallow time of 30 minutes is recommended after Group A procedures, with mitigation such as high-volume suction/ rubber dam
- In dental surgeries where the ventilation rate is between 6 and 9 ACH, a baseline fallow time of 20 minutes is recommended after Group A procedures
- In dental surgeries where the ventilation rate is 10 ACH or more, a baseline fallow time of 15 minutes is recommended after Group A procedures
Dr. Kathryn Houlding B.Ch.D, Dentist at the Devonshire Quarter Dental Clinic, adds:
One of the things that the Chief Dental Officer and the NHS stipulated for safety was that after any AGP an hour fallow time was left before a deep clean could be done to allow the virus to settle or go out the window. This meant that the surgery had to be shut for an hour and twenty minutes after any procedure so dramatically reducing the amount of surgical time per day we can see patients. I contacted Ben Hughes, the Director of Free Running Buildings, and he was happy to help with an energy efficient solution to help us reduce this time and therefore speed up our ability to see patients.
I feel very lucky to have had the help from Free Running Buildings. It has transformed how we can work and has reduced the time each surgery is shut down. I feel dentistry has benefitted from their skill as other practices have managed to do the same.
Free Running Buildings concluded that a system of window fans and fan speed controllers would adequately increase the ventilation rates in the two surgery rooms to achieve compliance with governmental guidelines.