By Asquith Williams
The novel coronavirus, SARS CoV-2, is causing a stir in the global public health community. The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a global outbreak; and while the majority of infections are mostly seen in China, it has captured the world’s attention as it continues to spread throughout South Korea, Iran, China, Europe and North America.
Currently, there is no treatment or vaccine and limited known information regarding the virus. Medical professionals, public health experts and researchers are working to provide as much information as possible on the new virus. Learn some of the facts we do know about SARS CoV-2 the virus which causes COVID-19.
While there is still much to learn about how COVID-19 is transmitted, person-to-person transmission has been confirmed in both healthcare and family settings. The spread of COVID-19 from contaminated surfaces has also been confirmed. Thus, we can posit that our best defence in our facilities will be strict adherence to your infection prevention strategy.
This is especially important as SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 is very similar to the family human coronaviruses according to a study published in The Journal of Hospital Infection, human coronaviruses can survive on surfaces for up to nine days but because they are enveloped viruses, can quite easily be killed with an EPA/DIN Registered Disinfectant.
Disinfection methods should help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially when applied to frequently touched surfaces where you might expect the viral load to be most potent, according to the study. Hydrogen peroxide is an effective active ingredient in disinfectants that has been proven effective against other strains of human coronavirus.
Whether you are protecting a healthcare facility or any public place, the need for strict adherence to disinfection procedures is absolutely essential during any time, notwithstanding a global outbreak. Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures should include:
- Using an EPA/ DIN Registered, hospital-grade disinfectant on all high-touch surfaces and objects
- Making sure to follow the use directives on the label.
Stocking Your Building
Handwashing will continue to be the best line of defense against the transmission of all disease, including human coronaviruses, in all facility types. While we do not yet know the specifics of how COVID-19 spreads, we do know that other coronaviruses spread through person-to-person contact and by touching contaminated surfaces and objects.
Make sure that your facility has full soap dispensers next to every sink, with the proper hand-drying supplies (stocked paper towels). Signage can make a difference when promoting handwashing behaviors in your facility. It has been shown that also providing hand sanitizer stations where sinks are unavailable, can be effective in preventing the spread of infection.
While stocking your building with the proper materials needed to help promote the hygienic measures that can alleviate the spread of COVID-19, you may consider providing more tissues. The CDC and WHO recommend sneezing or coughing into a tissue whenever possible to stop the spread of COVID-19 through respiratory droplets. In addition, consider placing closed, lined receptacles near tissues so that used tissues may be disposed of immediately. All custodial workers in all buildings must wear the proper PPE, replacing gloves frequently, wearing N95 masks when disinfecting.
A full list of infection control recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control.html
Resources from ISSA and the Global Biorisk Advisory Council available here: https://www.issa.com/education/cleaning-for-infection-prevention/coronavirus-prevention-and-control-for-the-cleaning-industry