With so much uncertainty about the current global outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, all businesses need to consider how best to prevent and decrease the spread of the infectious disease in their workplace. As a business owner or property manager, you will want to undertake the most effective preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of an outbreak at your workplace.
The COVID-19 virus is a new member of the family of coronaviruses that were first identified in the 1960s and which are responsible for common colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Scientists, doctors and regulators are just beginning to understand COVID-19 - how it spreads, the incubation period, length and severity of illness it causes.
Because there are no known specific treatments for COVID-19 at this time, experts are focusing on prevention. Scientific research shows that, depending on the surface material, temperature and humidity conditions, human coronaviruses can survive and remain infectious from two hours to up to nine days, or even longer.1 Therefore, potentially contaminated surfaces must be disinfected thoroughly on a daily basis, at minimum.
Preventive recommendations for your business during the COVID-19 outbreak:
Remind employees the importance of staying home if they are sick; send home employees who show symptoms of illness.
Emphasize that washing hands often with soap and water is one of the best ways to avoid transmission of emerging pathogens. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol.
Implement work-from home protocols for your employees whenever possible.
Encourage respiratory etiquette (e.g., coughing into one's elbow, immediately disposing of used tissues) and hand hygiene by all employees.
Provide daily environmental cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces focusing on common gathering areas. These areas include door handles, light switches, stair rails, elevator buttons, phones, microwaves, coffee stations, sink handles, water fountains, chair arms, shared workstations or learning materials, dining tables.
Provide disposable alcohol-based wipes for employees to clean and disinfect commonly used or high-touch surfaces between use.
Advise employees to follow safe travel protocols.
Employees who are not ill but who have family member(s) with COVID-19 must notify their supervisor and other employees in the workplace.
At ServiceMaster Restore, we understand the crucial importance of keeping the workplace clean, safe and healthy. Our experience and training in biohazard situations allow us the ability to promote safe practices for infection prevention within all businesses. Aligned with the CDC recommendations, ServiceMaster Restore has preventive commercial cleaning and disinfecting solutions to respond to all types of infectious disease contagions, including COVID-19.
At ServiceMaster Restore we can help you implement preventive cleaning and disinfection protocols for your business. Our experts are also qualified and equipped with the required protocols and processes should any pathogen outbreak occur within your facility. Please call us to let us be of service.
1 Human coronaviruses can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces at room temperature for up to 9 days. At a temperature of 30°C [86°F] or more, the duration of persistence is shorter. Veterinary coronaviruses have been shown to persist even longer for 28 days.
DISCLAIMER - COVID-19 is an emerging pathogen and new information becomes available on a regular basis. Material presented here is based on the information that is available at the time this article was written on March 6, 2020. It is derived from several sources including the Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, Health Canada and other materials. The information contained may be updated at any point by the organizations mentioned herein. It is the responsibility of every business to stay current on new information regarding COVID-19 as it emerges. This article should not be construed to be the totality of all information on COVID-19.