covid in the same tower block

by John Herbert

Tower block at Richland Gardens Estate ,Kowloon Bay,Hong Kong 13-12-2020
COVID Vertical spread at Richland Gardens Estate, Block 6, Kowloon Bay,

UPDATE: 14 December 2020

different building – new vertical cluster

A residential building called Kwai Tung House in the Tung Tau Estate, Nga Tsin Wai is reported to have nine cases in six different units, where most of the patients come from flat number 15 (on different floors). CHP said maybe a structural problem (meaning drainage system) Dr Yuen will investigate.

UPDATE 11 December 2020

Environmental samples were taken from Block 6 apartments, COVID19 positive results were discovered on the piping, floor drains, and exhaust fans

Logically, it appears that COVID19 entered through the floor drain trap into the space (bathroom?) exposing the residents to the COVID19 virus.

The positive results discovered on the exhaust fans is a new development. Perhaps the exhaust fan handling contaminated air with suspended droplets itself becomes contaminated, and potentially discharges contaminated air. And when the extract fan is switched off, its a contaminated surface, risking touch/contact transmission. Safety precautions are needed for handling and cleaning exhaust fans.

RTHK has now issued a news report with video (ENGLISH): https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1564832-20201211.htm

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan (11-12-2020) mentioned in passing that earlier investigations also found COVID19 in the fan system, although I don’t recall any announcement.

#exhaustfan #ventilation #HVAC


10 December 2020

Richland Gardens is a residential housing estate located in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong comprising 22 high rise tower blocks, a small outdoor public transport interchange, and a medium sized shopping centre.

RTHK and SCMP have reported seven covid19 cases so far, located on different floors of the same tower, all in Block 6, and all residing in flat D. In addition, one case was reported in Block 4, and one case in Block 18.

https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1564579-20201210.htm

CHP requires all residents in Richland Gardens Block 6, all floors, flat D, and Block 18, all floors , Flat E, must be tested, to me that indicates potentially more cases in Block 18 will emerge in the next few days.

After the horse has bolted, experts turned up to visit the Block 6 with microbiologist Dr Yuen, after the inspection Dr Yuen stated the drainage could be the source, because all the cases were in flat D, on different floors, but not every U trap could be seen (no access?)

RTHK managed to interview several Block 6 residents, who stated that the Block 6 drainage system was leaking!

Strange that BD, EPD or Dr Yuen didn’t mention leakage that in their post-inspection press conference. Dr Yuen did suggest pointed out that all residents in Block 6 should be quarantined, but the quarantine accommodation is already full, another no room at the inn story ✨✨✨

From bitter experience (e.g. SARS 2003) and other buildings, we know that sub-standard drainage systems can spread disease in the same high rise building, for Richland Gardens the early evidence tends to indicate that the cause is probably the poorly maintained drainage system (again). Has nobody heard that Prevention is better than the cure!

As shown in previously posted photos, it is easy to find located drainage systems that have not been properly maintained, but we have to wait for the next batch of people to be hospitalised before BD, EPD and HA pay a site visit.

Fingers crossed this cluster does not expand across the other 22 tower blocks in the estate.

#drainage #sewerage #conditionsurvey #buildings #kowloonbay #plumbing #buildingmanagement #plumbinginstallation #floordrains

Vertical Greening Reality

Creating a vertical green wall is appealing “feature” although the reality is a lot different. It is a garden, and needs to be tended, in Hong Kong that requires a safe working platform typically a diesel powered aerial platform, this quick video shows the reality.

My quiet coffee break was interrupted by the noise AND pollution from this aerial platform preparing to tend the vertical greening.

Novel Coronavirus and SARS

A novel coronavirus emerged from Wuhan City, China in December 2019 (2019-nCOV) and it is apparent that it shares many similarities with the 2003 SARS outbreak, the virus is transported inside water droplets (aerosols) from coughing and sneezing in the air and its also shed in fecal matter which in turn is aerosolized risking contamination of surfaces.

History ignored is destained to be repeated, the same engineering issues remain today creating panic in the Hong Kong community.

Back in 2003, Kelcroft’s John Herbert was one of the few engineers that dared to visit buildings during the SARS outbreak, to highlight buildings requiring urgent improvements. You might not worry about a disconnected vent pipe, until you understand that’s a transmission path for the virus into your home.

Like SARS, and Legionella (which is bacteria) the novel coronavirus can be transported in the air, it’s said to be airborne pathogen, protected inside a water droplet, and depending on the air temperature and humidity, it is thought to be able to carry its virus package over long distances, outside and inside home.

And with favourable environmental conditions, the virus remains viable for up to 5 days on hard surfaces. ( link to useful Singaporean government list of household disinfection products).

If you are interested, here is a link to download our free SARS 2003 report: http://www.kelcroft.com.hk/download/kelcroft-sars-report-may-2003.pdf

#sars #coronavirus #hongkong #2019-nCOV #airbourne #kelcroft #2003