Put the air conditioner on during the current heatwave and do not worry about any COVID-19 risk. Officials with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) say there is danger to public health safety during the pandemic from using home air conditioners or fans to try and keep things cool at home during the current late-spring heatwave.
 Put the air conditioner on during the current heatwave and do not worry about any COVID-19 risk. Officials with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) say there is danger to public health safety during the pandemic from using home air conditioners or fans to try and keep things cool at home during the current late-spring heatwave.

Heatwave advice during pandemic

Gregg Chamberlain
EAP
Go ahead and plug in the air conditioner at home or set up some fans during the heatwave. There is no risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

“It’s not a hazard,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, chief medical health officer for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU).

Dr. Roumeliotis has received several inquiries about the potential infection risk during the pandemic of homeowners using their air conditioners or fans to deal with the late-spring heatwave conditions. During his Tuesday (May 26) teleconference with regional media, Dr. Roumeliotis said that home airconditioners, whether the portable type that sit in a window or built-in central AC, and fans do not pose a pandemic health risk.

“People can use their fans, use their ACs,” he said, “especially during the heatwave.”

Dr. Roumeliotis also noted that the EOHU is providing pandemic health safety recommendations to local municipalities on how to set up “cooling cnetres” in their areas to provide relief and shelter to residents who may not have air conditioners or other means to keep their homes cool inside during a heatwave.

“We have to create (cooling) shelters with precautions in place,” he said, adding that such precautions would include masking of individuals while they are inside the cooling centre and also making sure social distancing guidelines are followed.