Q. 1. How long can coronavirus survive on a surface? If I wait long enough, can I skip cleaning and disinfecting?
A. 1. Initial CDC reports indicated the coronavirus had been detected in the air for as long as three hours after it is aerosolized. It has lived for up to 17 days on some surfaces. Because COVID-19 is new, and not all research is complete, not every surface has been tested, and studies continue about how much virus material it takes to cause an infection. Currently, there is not a definitive statement about how long to quarantine for it to be reduced to an acceptable risk level. Therefore, SanMar and many others recommend thorough cleaning and disinfection of any contaminated surfaces and areas.
Q. 2. What do I do if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in someone who has visited my building?
A. 2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that after the infected person leaves your premises, you isolate the areas that the person visited and remove other people from those areas. We advise that you contact a qualified contractor for help in developing a coronavirus cleaning and remediation plan.
Also, for employers, OSHA regulations indicate that if a coronavirus-positive employee comes to work and infects others, it may be a violation of the General Duty Clause. A correction would include sending the infected employee home to quarantine and disinfecting the work environment before others return.
Q. 3. Are room foggers adequate disinfection for coronavirus?
A.3. Room foggers may effectively disinfect for some viruses and bacteria, and the CDC has not listed foggers in its disinfection procedure for the coronavirus/COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). The CDC does recommend a two-step process that includes cleaning a contaminated surface and then disinfecting it with an EPA-registered disinfectant that claims to kill emerging viruses.
Q. 4. Can in-house janitorial staff handle coronavirus disinfection?
A. 4. There is no prohibition against in-house staff cleaning and disinfecting a building. But, there are regulatory requirements you must meet to comply with OSHA and EPA regulations. For example, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and training for using gloves, eye and face protection, and respiratory protection.
Also, if your staff will be handling infected waste, there is potential for cross-contamination and further infection risks. It is essential only to use disinfectants that are registered with the EPA and that have emerging virus claims. You can also read more information direct from OSHA in the publication titled Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. It is a useful overview for companies and buildings regarding the COVID-19 situation. It helps to identify at-risk people and suggests effective risk-mitigation strategies.
Q. 5. How does the coronavirus spread?
A. 5. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads primarily by aerosolized droplets expelled by an infected person who coughs or sneezes. The droplets are passed to others either through direct contact or when they land on surfaces and are transmitted to the eyes, nose, or mouth by the hands.
Q. 6. Will COVID-19 disappear during summer?
A. 6. So far, there are mixed views on how seasons may affect the virus. If it is similar to other known viruses, it may decrease activity during Summer and return more strongly during Fall or Winter. But no one yet knows for sure.
Q. 7. What’s the best way to keep my hands clean?
A. 7. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Each time you come in contact with others, leave the house or return home, you need to wash your hands immediately. Remember also not to put your hands near your face to avoid transmission.
Q. 8. How do I effectively disinfect surfaces at home and work?
A. 8. On common surfaces, such as countertops, doorknobs, and other spots we touch regularly, both rubbing alcohol and a chlorine bleach solution will kill coronavirus. While you can handle disinfecting on your own at home, public and commercial spaces are different. They benefit significantly from the professional COVID-19 cleaning service SanMar provides in New York City.
If you have additional questions, need more information, or want to schedule a coronavirus disinfecting appointment, please call us at (212) 334-9884.