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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Coronavirus COVID-19 Cleaning & Disinfecting of Facilities

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

With the rise of people contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), facilities, where people with the virus have been present, are now faced with cleaning and disinfecting of their properties. 

Why Is Cleaning & Disinfecting Important?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 is thought to spread from person-to-person. This can be through personal contact or through inhaling droplets in the air from someone who sneezes or coughs. It is also thought that it can spread by touching a surface or item that has the virus on it, which is why cleaning and disinfecting are so important. The CDC has stated that since this is a new (novel) version of the virus, there is more to learn about it and how it spreads. For the latest updates on the virus, you can visit the CDC website for updated info and guidance. 

To prevent the spread of infection, it is important to have any areas that a person who has tested positive has been, professionally cleaned and disinfected. Clean up guidelines may be superseded by state and local law enforcement. It is important to contact your local law enforcement and health department if a person with the virus has visited your business or facility.  Due to how easily this virus can spread, it is important that all businesses be pro-active in isolating the contaminated area and seeking immediate cleanup and disinfection. 

The Cleaning Process for COVID-19 

There are three levels of cleaning that can be done. The three levels of cleaning are general surface cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.  It is important to note though, that not all surfaces can be cleaned to all three levels. While every surface can be surface cleaned, not all can be sanitized or disinfected.

With general surface cleaning, dirt, bacteria, fungi, and viruses are scrubbed and removed from the surface. The goal is to physically remove the virus microbes. As noted above, all surfaces can be cleaned. By cleaning the surface, not only are you removing the possible virus microbes but you are also removing the nutrients and moisture that helps the virus survive and multiply. 

The next level of cleaning is sanitizing. Sanitizing a surface helps reduce the amount of bacteria on a surface. Though, sanitizers do not claim to clean or remove fungi or viruses. In order to be classified as a sanitizer, the product must kill 99.9% of all bacteria tested on non-food contact surfaces. Examples of these types of non-food sanitizers are air sanitizers, carpet sanitizers, toilet sanitizers, and laundry sanitizers.

The last level of cleaning is disinfecting. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to neutralize germs on surfaces. Disinfectants will not remove dirt or germs, but it will inactivate the germs. The number of microbes inactivated is determined by the disinfecting chemical and how it is used. 

What Is Cleaned After COVID-19 Contamination

According to the CDC, all high touch surfaces are encouraged to be cleaned. These surfaces include doors, countertops, tables, desks, toilets, sinks, phones, elevator buttons, keyboards, and railings at a minimum. As every facility and property is different, each location will most likely have added areas that need to be cleaned. 

For the area where a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, enhanced cleaning is required. Enhanced cleaning includes cleaning and disinfecting of all non-porous surfaces in the area and cleaning and sanitizing of all porous surfaces in the area. This includes, as an example for office spaces, the walls, carpeting, cubicles, chairs, shared office equipment, and more. Obviously, the scope of work can change depending on the space. In a commercial kitchen, cleaning and disinfecting could be a simpler process compared to a retail clothing shop, where you are dealing with a lot of porous materials that could be contaminated. 

What Can You Do To Reduce Infection and the Spread?

As you can see, the novel coronavirus can easily be spread from person to person. To reduce the risk of infection and the spread of the coronavirus, it is important that you and your staff are diligent in handwashing and cleaning. Clean your hands often and thoroughly, avoid touching your nose, mouth, and face. Avoid close contact with people. Try to stay at least 3-feet apart and avoid handshakes. It is also a good idea to increase the cleaning routine of your facilities to reduce the chance of the infection spreading from high touch surfaces.

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