Cubicle Areas/Farms

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

Question posted on IFMA Engage:

I have a space with approximately 80 cubicles. If you sit a person in each one, there is a 6ft distance between them, however, we are having an issue with masks.
My concern is that it’s an open area, and I believe that masks should be worn at all times when they are working. Others believe that if they are far enough apart, they should only wear a mask when leaving their cube and going into the most common areas.
Any thoughts?

Amy Spaulding
Facility Operations Manager
Kratos Defense and Security Solutions
Colorado Springs CO

Response from David Reynolds,

An April 16 review article in the Journal of Infectious Diseases finds 6 feet substantially too little separation. Findings support the precautions that you suggest and Patrick describes and perhaps more. The problem is both distance and duration of aerosols, and possibly, the authors note, virus floating free. Once suspended in air, having time for particles to go where the breezes take them looks like a decisive factor. Masks largely limit release and trajectory.
From the abstract:
“We found that the evidence base for current guidelines is sparse, and the available data do not support the 1- to 2-meter (≈3–6 feet) rule of spatial separation. Of 10 studies on horizontal droplet distance, 8 showed droplets travel more than 2 meters (≈6 feet), in some cases up to 8 meters (≈26 feet). Several studies of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) support aerosol transmission, and 1 study documented virus at a distance of 4 meters (≈13 feet) from the patient. Moreover, evidence suggests that infections cannot neatly be separated into the dichotomy of droplet versus airborne transmission routes. Available studies also show that SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in the air, and remain viable 3 hours after aerosolization.”

Airborne or Droplet Precautions for Health Workers Treating Coronavirus Disease 2019?
Prateek Bahl, Con Doolan, Charitha de Silva, Abrar Ahmad Chughtai, Lydia Bourouiba, C Raina MacIntyre
The Journal of Infectious Diseases, jiaa189,


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