CO2 Monitors

C02 Monitors Can Be Part of Indoor Coronavirus Fight

NBC Universal, Inc.

Pandemic restrictions are starting to ease, and with that, the return to more indoor spaces is inevitable, long-awaited news for many itching to return to some degree of normalcy.

An epidemiologist told NBC 7 that CO2 monitors can contribute to efforts helping people get back into indoor settings safely.

Corinne McDaniels-Davidson, who’s the director of the SDSU Institute for Public Health, said that health experts are pushing for businesses to make the switch to CO2 monitors, claiming they give businesses a more tangible idea if they’re actually providing a safe COVID-19 environment beyond for their workers and customers while also giving people a glimpse into the air around them.

McDaniels-Davidson said the CO2 units test the air around you.

“It's a proxy measure for other people's air that they're breathing out that could potentially have aerosolized viral particles,” McDaniels-Davidson said.

McDaniels-Davidson said it’s nearly impossible to measure how much COVID-19 is in the air, but CO2 monitors can determine how much exhaled air -- or CO2 -- is being shared in a given space, and that information might be enough to determining someone’s risk of catching COVID-19 if it is in their environment.

“When you're breathing in other's people's exhaled air, you're at risk for COVID infection,” McDaniels-Davidson explained.

The epidemiologist said people should aim to hit 600 parts per million or lower below on the device, mentioning that anything above that signals a need for more ventilation -- or that the space should be avoided altogether. 

“If the levels inside of a business are above 800 -- closer to 1000 -- then it tells them that they need to be doing a few other things,” said McDaniels-Davidson, who suggested that opening a door or cracking a window would help get the ventilation flowing and bring down CO2 levels.

Despite the progress being made with the pandemic, the device is not a substitute for safe COVID-19 practices like social distancing and mask wearing and should be used in tandem, McDaniels-Davidson said.

The monitors cost between $100-$200. McDaniels-Davidson said people should make sure monitors have an NDIR sensor and that only one is required per room.

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