Protecting Your Facility From The Coronavirus - by Glenn Rasin
There’s been a lot of attention around the recent emergence of a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). While the majority of the cases are in China, 2019 Novel Coronavirus is now prevalent in the U.S.
While cases in the U.S. remain comparatively low, WHO and CDC expect more confirmed cases.
To help you navigate the best way to control the spread of this virus and to prevent an outbreak from occurring in your facility, EBP has gathered information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and several of our manufacturing partners.
In this article, we’ll go over the basic facts about 2019 Novel Coronavirus, how to protect your facility and guests, and provide a list of products that our manufacturers have listed as meeting the guidelines of the CDC for use against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 on hard, non-porous surfaces, and thus can be used against SARS-CoV-2 when used in accordance with disinfection directions.
What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV for short, is the virus that is causing an outbreak of the respiratory illness (COVID-19) that was first detected in China, but has now been detected in 60 countries internationally.
As of February 11th, 2020, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) has released the official name for 2019 Novel Coronarius as "severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2" (SARS-CoV-2).
The CDC’s current knowledge of this virus is based on what is known about similar coronaviruses because this is so new.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that include Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). As stated by the World Health Organization, "novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans."
SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19, a mild to severe respiratory illness.
Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, respiratory symptoms, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and death.
Pro Tip: In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease.
How is COVID-19 Transmitted?
📷Similar to cold and flu viruses, the emerging coronavirus disease is thought to spread from person-to-person via respiratory droplets or when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. According to the CDC, it is still unknown if a person can actually get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. People are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic (showing signs of illness), however, there have been cases of infected individuals with no symptoms spreading the illness to others when in close contact. Elderly, those with underlying health issues, and people who have recently traveled to China are most at risk.
How to Prevent The Spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Your Facility
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease. The best method of prevention is reducing the spread of germs. Best practices to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in your facility include:
Follow Proper Handwashing Procedures and Wash Hands FrequentlyHave Hand Sanitizer AccessibleProvide Occupants with Facial TissueAvoid Close Contact with People who are SickEncourage Sick Individuals to Stay Home if Showing SymptomsClean and Disinfect to Prevent the Spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus
Follow Proper Handwashing Procedures
Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of illness and to avoid getting sick.
Encourage proper handwashing procedures. Occupants should scrub their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing with running water.
Remind building occupants to wash their hands carefully and frequently especially:
after going to the bathroombefore eatingafter coughing or sneezingbefore touching their eyes, nose or mouth
Have Hand Sanitizer Accessible
📷When water and soap are not available or there is limited access, hand sanitizers can play an integral role in hand hygiene.
Provide occupants with alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, to kill and prevent the spread of germs.
Hand sanitizer can also be used when an individual has come into contact with a high-touch surface, like a doorknob, phone, or lightswitch, and it is not practical to wash their hands repeatedly.
Provide Occupants with Facial Tissue
Spreading through aerosolized droplets, it is important to encourage building occupants to cough or sneeze into a facial tissue and dispose of it right away.
If a facial tissue isn’t available, encourage people to cough or sneeze into the bend of their elbow to prevent the spread of droplets.
Avoid Close Contact with People who are Sick
Spreading from person-to-person, transmission occurs among close contact or when individuals come in contact with an infected person who is within 6 feet.
If someone is showing signs of illness, like coughing, keep a measurable distance to reduce the chance of germs spreading.
Encourage Sick Individuals to Stay Home if Showing Symptoms
Prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 or any other illness by encouraging individuals to stay home from work or school when they are experiencing symptoms.
Clean and Disinfect to Prevent the Spread of SARS-CoV-2
Contamination of surfaces is likely occurring when an infected individual coughs or sneezes and releases respiratory droplets.
As a result, cleaning and disinfecting high touch points around your facility like doorknobs, elevator buttons, countertops and handrails, as well as encouraging occupants to disinfect items in their immediate area, like their desk, phone, and computer can help limit the spread of pathogens.
Pro Tip: For disinfectants to prove effective, the surface must first be cleaned. Cleaning removes loose soils, preparing the surface or object to be disinfected. Disinfecting kills germs on the surface, preventing them from spreading. If a surface is not cleaned first, germs can hide under soils and reduce the efficacy of the disinfectant. Use the steps in our previous article, "What is the Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting?", to properly perform cleaning and disinfection procedures.
Use a multi-purpose surface cleaner or cleaner/disinfectant to wipe down and remove any visible soil.
At the time of this writing, no EPA registered disinfectants have a claim against this specific coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
However, to detect and contain SARS-CoV-2, the EPA in accordance with the U.S government and the CDC has activated its Emerging Viral Pathogens Guidance for Antimicrobial Pesticides.
Meaning, select products that have been shown effective against similar viruses like Human Coronavirus, SARS associated Coronavirus, or Rotavirus can be used on hard surfaces against SARS-CoV-2 when used in accordance with disinfection directions.
According to the EPA, an eligible product must meet both of the following criteria: 1. The product is an EPA-registered, hospital/healthcare or broad-spectrum disinfectant with directions for use on hard, porous or non-porous surfaces. 2. The currently accepted product label should have disinfectant efficacy claims against at least one of the following viral pathogen groupings:
a) A product should be approved by EPA to inactivate at least one large or one small non-enveloped virus to be eligible for use against an enveloped emerging viral pathogen. b) A product should be approved by EPA to inactivate at least one small, nonenveloped virus to be eligible for use against a large, non-enveloped emerging viral pathogen. c) A product should be approved by EPA to inactivate at least two small, nonenveloped viruses with each from a different viral family to be eligible for use against a small, non-enveloped emerging viral pathogen.
Pro Tip: Adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines (or the product label) for the recommended wet dwell time for disinfection.
For additional information about SARS-CoV-2 refer to the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/
Encouraging and implementing preventative measures throughout your facility is critical to occupant health and infection prevention. And, using disinfectant products on surfaces can help limit the spread of diseases.
EBP will continue to monitor this ongoing situation, and as news becomes available, we will provide updated information.
EBP is a leading distributor of commercial cleaning supplies and is ready to help you combat coronavirus. We have Sales Executives ready to recommend the best products to help reduce the risk of germs spreading throughout your facility. Reach out to your current Sales Executive or contact us to help you find the products that will be most effective in your facility today.