Local laboratory receives accreditation for COVID-19 testing in air and on surfaces

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — An Oak Ridge lab has just received accreditation for their testing of COVID-19 on surfaces and in the air.

Assured Bio Labs recently received accreditation from the American Industrial Hygiene Association. It’s something they’ve been working on since March. Dr. Ed Sobek, president of the lab says the testing has allowed them to learn more about how Corona Virus lingers in the air and on surfaces.

“The accreditation is basically a verification that we are following the correct quality control, so everything is done to a standard and basically it gives us a level of confidence in our data.” Sobek said.

The testing of various samples has shown that some places have high numbers of COVID-19 particles in the air that could easily be inhaled.

“You have airborne COVID, and we’re actually quantifying. So we’re counting the viral load in the air of COVID, or on a surface.” Sobek said.

The World Health Organization recently acknowledged that there is “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of coronavirus.

In recent tests, Dr. Sobek says the samples with the highest numbers were taken from hospitals. Particularly, hospitals that were transitioning their COVID patient rooms to regular rooms. Dr. Sobek says he’s hoping by quantifying the amount of COVID in the air or on a surface, it can serve as a benchmark to improve cleaning and air quality in buildings everywhere.

“When you see these high numbers, you’re getting several thousand in the air or 10,000 on a surface, that’s a red flag that goes up and says okay, we need to work on our cleaning, we need to work on our air systems, our ventilation better.”

As new information about the virus continues to evolve, Dr. Sobek says the best thing we can do right now is protect ourselves.

“I think one of the most important things you can do is to protect yourself if to wear a mask when you’re out in public.” Sobek said.

If you would like to submit a sample from your business to be tested, samples are accepted Monday through Friday. You can visit the Assured Bio Labs website to learn the protocol for sample submissions.

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