With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses are either closed or mandating that their employees work from home to reduce the transmission rates of the virus. However, there are essential businesses, like the military, food stores, police, fire departments, senior care, and emergency services, that need to continue operating during the current crisis. For these critical businesses, it is essential to do everything possible to keep their staff safe and mitigate the risks of transmission.
It is no surprise that clients are turning to restoration professionals to assist them in properly responding to the coronavirus pandemic, also referred to as COVID-19. Below, the experts at Certified Restoration explain how to keep essential businesses open and as safe as possible for your staff during the COVID pandemic.
“Flattening the Curve” of Infections
The most effective way to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 is to avoid exposure to the coronavirus that causes the disease. Decades of research, scientific studies, and practical experience have shown that the two best tools we have to mitigate the spread of this virus and “flatten the curve” is social distancing to limit the direct transmission of the virus, and cleaning and disinfecting virus-contaminated surfaces to stop indirect transmission of the virus.
Social Distancing to Stop Direct Transmission of the Virus
The most common way that viruses like COVID-19 spread are through direct exposure to the aerosolized droplets that shoot out when an infected individual coughs or sneezes or touches another person. When an infected person directly transmits the virus to another person, it is called direct transmission. Social distancing is the now ubiquitous term for avoiding contact with all people beyond your immediate family or housemates. In general, if individuals can avoid any physical contact and maintain at least six feet of separation from others, we will reduce the spread of the virus.
Clean and Sanitize Surfaces to Stop Indirect Transmission of the Virus
An uninfected person might contract Covid-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own face, allowing the virus to enter their body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. When the virus is transferred through secondary surfaces and/or objects, it is known as indirect transmission. Prolonged exposure to contaminated surfaces leads to higher infection rate, which is why keeping surfaces and objects clean can mitigate the transmission rates. That means actively applying disinfectants to surfaces and objects, as well as constantly washing your hands and avoiding any contact with your face, will help reduce the spread.
How Best to Clean and Disinfect a Work Area?
What proactive policies can we take to successfully contain the spread of the virus, especially if critical businesses need their staff to work? In addition to implementing social distancing guidelines, requiring all employees to wear face masks, regularly cleaning and sanitizing surfaces in the workplace can minimize the risk of transmission. According to UCHealth, “…wiping down high touchpoint surfaces can help break chains of infection and ultimately take pressure off the U.S. healthcare system as it treats the most serious cases.”
However, just because a surface has been cleaned and sanitized does not mean it is now immune to contamination. A clean or treated surface can quickly become recontaminated if an infected individual sneezes or coughs near the area.
What is the Difference Between Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing?
Cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing are often used interchangeably, but according to the CDC definition, there are notable differences between the three. Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. While this process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, it does kill any germs on a surface after cleaning, further lowering the risk of spreading infection. Sanitizing reduces (but does not necessarily eliminate) microorganisms from surfaces to levels considered safe. By reducing the numbers it reduces the risk of spreading infection.
How to Effectively Sanitize Surfaces
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours. That time frame increases to up to four hours if the surface is copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The study also confirmed that people may acquire the virus through the air and after touching contaminated objects. The virus can survive longer on hard surfaces like plastic and stainless steel, but it has trouble surviving for a long time on more porous surfaces like cardboard and paper.
So, when you are talking about cleaning and sanitizing an area, the types of surfaces in that area will determine the best method to apply the disinfectant. In order to properly apply a disinfectant to kill the virus on a non-porous surface, the surface has to be covered in disinfectant for 10 minutes. However, for certain types of surfaces like electronics and fabrics, it may not be possible to keep the disinfectant wet for 10 minutes so we need to explore other methods.
Disinfecting Porous vs. Non-Porous Surface
In general, most workspaces have a mix of both porous (carpet, chairs with fabric, paper, untreated wood, etc.) and non-porous (countertops, desks, plastics, etc.) surfaces. Below, we detail the best methods for applying a disinfectant to both porous and non-porous surfaces.
Applying Disinfectants on Non-Porous Surfaces
Hard non-porous surfaces are easier to apply the disinfect because you have better access to the surface and it is easier to allow the disinfectant to sit for at least 10 minutes. A good hand cleaning and application of an EPA Approved Disinfectant is a great option for non-porous surfaces. Some non-porous surfaces, like electronics, may be damaged by soaking with a disinfectant, so they will require a different application type, typically a wiping down with a moist towel.
Disinfecting Porous Surfaces
The application for porous surfaces is slightly different, as the level of cleaning and application of the disinfectant may vary depending on the type of porous surfaces. The challenges for porous surfaces include:
- You can spray a porous surface, but for some surfaces (such as carpet and fabrics), it can be difficult to wipe the surface down.
- Keeping the surface wet for 10 min could damage some porous surfaces.
- The disinfecting agents may not penetrate the small nooks and crannies where the virus can hide.
In general, hand cleaning and an application of a disinfectant are great for non-porous, high touchpoint areas. Foggers, sprayers, and air purification technology can be a better option when dealing with larger offices with a lot of porous surfaces. In many scenarios, it may be best to use a variety of application types to ensure the most thorough cleaning and sanitizing. All services listed below can help mitigate the risk of transmission, but none can guarantee 100% of the virus is killed on all surfaces.
Certified Restoration Offers Cleaning and Application of Disinfects
Certified Restoration offers three different services that effectively cleans, sanitizes and applies a disinfect to high touchpoint surfaces in your workspaces. Each service is unique and can be effective in different circumstances. In some cases, an office or workspace may require a combination of all 3 services in order to ensure an area has been cleaned to the best of our ability.
All work performed is based on the CDC Guidelines for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations and using EPA Approved Disinfects for coronavirus. Below, you can learn more about the three cleaning and disinfecting services we offer to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in your office or work area.
High Touchpoint Cleaning and Application of a Disinfect
Thoroughly cleaning high touchpoint surfaces prior to the application of a disinfectant on those surfaces is the CDC recommended protocol for Covid-19 cleaning. The goal is to clean away as much germs and dirt as possible prior to applying a disinfectant. All disinfectants are EPA certified to kill the targeted viruses and bacteria present in suspected areas of contamination. Disinfectants can be applied via foggers, misters or by hand, depending on the contents and size of the area. Our staff work with the proper PPE to ensure their safety and health.
Hydroxyl Air and Surface Purification
Hydroxyl Air and Surface Purification is a disinfecting method that purifies the air of potentially dangerous bacteria, pathogens, and viruses using the Odorox®. Hydroxyl system. The free radicals created by the system will “seek and destroy” contaminants in the area, while microorganisms are also killed by exposing them to UV radiation. This results in an effective disinfectant method that purifies both the air and the surfaces within an area.
Application of Disinfectants with a ULV Fogger
A ULV Fogger is used for the application of disinfectants, biocides, fungicides, and pesticides. Our ULV fogging machines use large volumes of air at low pressure to generate a fog or mist formed of Ultra Low Volume (ULV) droplets between 5-50 microns (μm) in diameter. Studies have shown that droplets of this size are ideal to tackle pathogens in an entire room quickly and thoroughly, even reaching the tightest of nooks and corners.
A ULV Fogger is a great way to apply a disinfectant to a larger area quickly, as well as areas with lots of porous surfaces and small nooks and crannies. UVL fogging of a disinfectant is commonly done as a supplementary pre or post-treatment to a thorough cleaning of the area.
Certified Restoration Can Help You Clean And Sanitize Your Office
Since there is no coronavirus preventative medicine available and you have a business that needs to continue to operate, a good strategy is to try to reduce infection rates with regular cleaning and application of disinfects. Most office environments consist of a mix of porous and non-porous surfaces, so you may need to consider a variety of application types to find the one, two, or three that are best suited for your office’s specific needs and to ensure your staff’s safety.
Certified Restoration is a San Diego restoration company that has thousands of hours of experience assisting individuals and businesses when their lives have been disrupted by catastrophic events and hazardous microorganisms projects, such as sewage mitigation and mold remediation. Certified Restoration’s vast amount of experience and expertise dealing with other hazardous materials can be applied to combating the spread of COVID-19. As a result, we are being called in to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infections in critical workplaces
If you are interested in learning more about our cleaning and sanitizing services for your office or work area give us a call at (619) 234-2500.