Ventilation Redesign Saved This Virginia Gym From A COVID Outbreak

November 19, 2020 by
Credit: 460 Fitness
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460 Fitness in Blacksburg, VA experienced what every gym has been fearing since March: a coach potentially exposing members to coronavirus. 

But, not a single member out of the 50 exposed contracted the virus, thanks to their gym layout, designed by member Dr. Linsey Marr.

The big picture: Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, is a world-renowned expert in aerosol transmission. She worked with 460 Fitness owner and head coach Velvet Minnick to make the gym space  — a warehouse — as safe as possible. 

How it worked: Marr told Insider the keys to a safer gym are “good airflow, proper planning, and plenty of social distance.” The aerosol engineer calculated optimal ventilation for the gym, taking into account how big the space was, wind speeds, and doors, according to CNN

  • Because CrossFit workouts are high-intensity and members at 460 Fitness don’t wear masks, six feet might not be distant enough. 460 Fitness kept their members spaced 10 feet apart. 
  • Giant garage doors, which Minnick opens, keep the airflow moving. Marr sa that based on the gym’s ventilation rate, they are now able to close the doors a bit more and still maintain a low risk of infection. 

The bottom line: It’s clear that good ventilation is essential to keep gyms safe as coronavirus cases rise globally. And, Marr’s insight and expertise illustrate another way that the CrossFit community is coming together and innovating to find ways to continue to pursue fitness.

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