You hear about it constantly on the news and from friends & family, it consumes social media conversations. People are anxiously purchasing cases of water, nonperishables, and disinfectants after waiting in lengthy lines at the supermarket. Meanwhile, hand sanitizers and cleaning wipes have been bought out for several weeks.
It’s all due to the rapid-fire human transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Rightly so, there’s a great deal of media coverage and public concern due to the manner in which this new virus spreads, and because we are uncertain how the spread will evolve and develop, false information is being shared.
COVID-19 and Facility Managers
As a facilities manager, how are you and the commercial cleaning staff properly preparing the workplace to prevent this infection from spreading?
Here we’ve outlined a few key considerations that you can share with your janitorial staff can implement on how to prepare for a positive case, what to do when it does and why it matters.
Take the Coronavirus Spread Seriously
Yes, for some who contract it, the coronavirus doesn’t feel substantially different than seasonal influenza. A dry cough, some body aches, and maybe a fever. So why are we as a nation taking such extreme precautions?
There groups of people, including the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, who are far more susceptible to illness, causing the coronavirus to rapidly transform into something deadly. And because this is a new strain of the virus, we’ve yet to build any immunities – leading us to understand why people are contracting it so quickly.
It’s because of this, hospitals have become overcrowded with too many infected patients—and at a rate faster than we’ve experienced in our lifetime. This is the reason why local officials and government authorities are encouraging “social distancing” and requesting that Americans do their part helping to “flatten the curve” and control virus transmission. It’s not an unfounded request- it’s because it’s majorly effective!
The COVID-19 coronavirus is nothing like chickenpox where families used to intentionally expose their children to someone known to have the virus so they get sick but build an early immunity. In today’s COVID-19 health crisis, it is exponentially more important to prevent infection for as long as possible and do us to do our best to keep hospitals and other healthcare facilities from overcrowding.
As a facilities manager, you have an important role in infection control by taking necessary action to prevent the virus from spreading in your building.
Understand How Virus Transmission Occurs
If you’re like many facilities managers, you’re probably wondering if the coronavirus can be spread by coming in contact with contaminated surfaces. The quick answer to that is yes, it is definitely possible that one might contract COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their nose, eyes, and mouth. From what we know about COVID-19 behavior, the virus can live on a surface anywhere from a few hours to a few days if it hasn’t been properly disinfected and sanitized. If there’s even a slight chance you think the virus has entered your building, The World Health Organization suggests immediate sanitation and disinfection to protect yourself and the building’s occupants.
Implement Practices to Help With Infection Control
Based on scientific evidence, we know that the virus can spread via contaminated surfaces. Facility managers should advise their commercial cleaning company to spend a great deal of time disinfecting and sanitizing high-touch surfaces throughout the entire building.
Which surfaces are considered high-touch? Some examples include:
- -Tables, desks, and countertops
- -Doorknobs, door handles and push plates or push bars on doors
- -Toilets, faucets, and sinks
- -Hard-backed chairs
- -Desk phones
- -Elevator buttons
Develop A Plan
If you are a building manager or in charge of cleaning services, it is crucial that you have a well-thought-out disinfecting plan for your janitorial service to sanitize these high touch surfaces and protect the health and safety of everyone who enters your building.
If someone in your building becomes sick with the coronavirus, what information do you need to provide to your janitorial staff on how they can disinfect and sanitize your building? The best course of action is to follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on how to disinfect your workplace after a sick person has been there:
- Close off any areas that were used by the sick person, and hold off for as long as feasible before your team starts to clean and disinfect the area, to minimize potential exposure to respiratory droplets lingering in the air.
- Open exterior doors and windows to aid in air circulation, and then wait at least 24 hours before you begin to clean and sanitize the area.
- Your commercial janitorial team should disinfect every area used by the infected people, with a heavy focus on high-touch surfaces.
- Refer to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when choosing cleaning products.
- Your janitorial staff should wear personal protective equipment like gloves, masks, and gowns during every part of the cleaning process—even when taking out the trash.
iNX Protects Against COVID-19
The COVID-19 coronavirus should be taken seriously, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Being a facility manager is already challenging when there isn’t a virus spreading like a wildfire. If you need additional support in dealing with this virus, let iNX Commercial Cleaning take over. We specialize in sanitizing, disinfecting, and provide recurring, consistent janitorial services across many industries, including office buildings, campus and educational facilities, food production and packaging plants, and many more! Call 1 (888) TEAM-INX today!