Proper Infection Control for Non-Healthcare Community FacilitiesAs testing for COVID-19 becomes more readily available and the virus spreads within communities, there is a growing awareness of cases around the world. According to the CDC, if it becomes known that someone infected with COVID-19 was in a given facility, that facility should take special precautions, such as:
- Closing off areas used by infected individuals and waiting at least 24 hours to clean and disinfect them
- Opening doors and windows to allow air to circulate
- After waiting, cleaning personnel should focus on cleaning and disinfecting areas that may have been used by infected individuals, such as frequently touched surfaces
- Commercial cleaning staff and/or anyone cleaning and disinfecting surfaces must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce their risk of receiving or further spreading diseases, such as compatible disposable gloves and gowns, face masks (if necessary), close-toed shoes, etc.
- Before disinfection, all dirty surfaces should be cleaned using detergent or soap and water.
- Disinfection solutions must be composed of either diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions containing at least 70% alcohol, and EPA-registered disinfectant products.
- If possible, use disinfecting products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claim, as these are most likely effective at killing COVID-19 and other stubborn viruses.
- Soft and porous surfaces (rugs, carpets, drapes, etc.) should be initially cleaned if visibly dirty and then laundered using appropriate warm water settings and let dry.
Proper Infection Control For Healthcare FacilitiesWhile the best practices outlined above also apply to healthcare institutions, there are additional cleaning guidelines for healthcare facilities that cleaning staff must follow to ensure the safety of patients, staff, and guests. More specifically, The American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) claims, “Because increasing evidence suggests that the environment plays a role in transmission of health care-associated infections, more attention is focusing on environmental cleaning and improving its efficacy. Creating and sustaining a successful cleaning and disinfection program should include several key components using a bundle approach and requires ongoing commitment within the institution.” In other words, proper healthcare cleaning and infection control practices require additional education and accountability measures. To achieve the best possible outcomes, the AJIC suggests:
- Establishing policies and procedures for cleaning and disinfection, which includes defining and prioritizing tasks, assigning roles, creating schedules, etc.
- Selecting cleaning products to use based on function and safety metrics.
- Determining application methods, i.e. microfiber cloths, cotton cloths, disposable wipes, etc.
- Educating cleaning staff on environmental cleaning and infection control practices for healthcare facilities.
- Monitoring methods and strategies to assess success of cleaning and infection control protocols.
- Delivering feedback to building cleaning personnel to improve practices, reduce the spread of infection and disease, and maintain accountability.