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Ionizing Fans Mitigate Pathogen Spread in Rec Center

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Facility capacities are relaxing as the number of COVID-19 vaccinations rise across the country, and some sports and recreation venues are continuing to invest in safety upgrades.

The Montrose (Colo.) Recreation District recently outfitted the Montrose Community Recreation Center with specialized ionizing fans that not only facilitate air flow within the facility, but also help to control pathogens.

The fans are part of the Clean Air System provided by industrial fan manufacturer Big Ass Fans. As reported by the Montrose Daily Press, the fan cage produces ions and the fan propels them throughout a given area. The MRD used modeling information before installing 11 large fans in the center's heavily used fitness area, game room and climbing wall areas.

“They basically put out electrically charged ions that attack different pathogens, include viruses and bacteria,” John Wagner, fitness leader for Montrose Recreation District, told the Daily Press. “They pretty much neutralize those pathogens, making your breathing area that much safer.”

Though the modeling showed significant reduction in terms of novel coronavirus exposure, Wagner said it is still necessary to enforce mask-wearing, cleaning and social distancing protocols.

“Even just for the yearly flu, it will be safer," Wagner said, with fan modeling showing a nearly complete eradication of flu. "It also helps keep surfaces cleaner. Even just from a cleanliness perspective, there will be less transmission of bacteria from surfaces that people touch."

The rec center has been open during the pandemic, requiring reservations for activities such as fitness classes, lap swimming, water fitness, family open swim and pickleball. Party rentals, child care and an indoor playground remain closed.

The industrial fans play a big part in the continued reopening of the center. “The pandemic definitely heightened people’s sensitivity to germs in general," said Wagner, who's counting on the fan investment to help assuage user concerns. "This will help keep those mitigated throughout the year.” 

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