Two years after the COVID-19 pandemic first became a global menace, the world still faces wave after wave of this unfortunate disease. Though some experts believe we’re finally approaching the endemic phase of COVID-19 in many regions (i.e., it becomes a regular but manageable disease like the flu), the fight isn’t over yet. The good news is that COVID-19 has already become much easier to manage thanks to highly effective vaccines and treatments. That said, new strains of SARS-CoV-2 continue to emerge, and some of these mutations are more transmissible than earlier iterations.
Today, the Omicron variant (and in particular its sub-variant, BA.2) is the dominant strain out there because it’s the most contagious of them all. While evidence suggests that Omicron BA.2 doesn’t cause more severe illness than the original variant, its infectiousness may soon strain hospitals once more, so it cannot be written off. The rapid return of COVID cases can also take a major blow to any business's bottom line. If your facility becomes exposed to Omicron, you might need to halt operations until everyone recovers and the space is deemed safe once more. So, now’s not the time to let your guard down. If you’ve been staying on top of preventative measures to stave off COVID-19 in your facility, you should continue these efforts for the foreseeable future. And if you haven’t done much to combat COVID since returning to the workplace, it’s never too late to make key improvements. Your main goals should be to keep surfaces sanitary via disinfection and maintain good indoor air quality (IAQ) through proper filtration and purification methods.
Let’s go over the ways in which spring cleaning and indoor air quality improvements can help you fight the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
How Spring Cleaning and Indoor Air Quality Can Fight Omicron
The Omicron Variant Spreads Through the Air
SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) has changed over time – this is the nature of viruses. Though technically not lifeforms, viruses act in similar ways, doing their best to survive and reproduce in ever-changing environments. This process of mutation leads to rapid evolution, wherein viruses can gain new characteristics. Some of these changes result in variations like Omicron that are more contagious. Indeed, the Omicron variant is different from its predecessors in several ways. However, this version of SARS-CoV-2 still seems to spread from person to person much in the same way as its previous iterations.
Though researchers are still closely investigating the matter, most people seem to catch COVID-19 indoors after the virus travels through the air and makes contact with the receiver. Airborne viruses and other germs can spread more easily when the surrounding air is riddled with dust and debris, as viruses attach themselves to this ambient material and linger until reaching a host. Conversely, clean air provides fewer places for viruses to hang out within a facility. Moreover, high-quality air filters help prevent viruses and other microorganisms from entering indoor areas in the first place. In this way, proper air purification acts as air disinfection for coronavirus, greatly reducing the risk of transmission within your facility (this goes for the highly infectious Omicron as well).
Many Germs Rest on Surfaces Too
Airborne transmission appears to be the primary means by which COVID-19 makes its rounds. That said, researchers believe that individuals can contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Omicron included) via surfaces, too. Surfaces that commonly carry infectious materials are known as fomites (e.g., porous objects, high-touch surfaces, shared items, etc.). Evidence suggests that fomite transmission for COVID-19 is rare but not impossible. With that in mind, it’s best to continue regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces throughout your facility, especially those that receive the most use, such as doorknobs, keyboards, desks, bathroom sinks and stalls, and toilets, etc. Combined with air quality improvements, these ongoing disinfection efforts will provide even fewer places for Omicron to linger, making your facility that much safer and healthier.
Spring Cleaning Reveals Underlying Problems
Spring cleaning isn’t just about wiping down surfaces so they shine – it’s also about getting organized. After a long, hectic winter, spring offers the perfect opportunity to take stock of your current protocols and assets and determine what, if anything, requires an update. Taking the time to thoroughly inspect your facility will reveal any issues that have been brushed under the rug, such as the presence of empty or outdated COVID-19 supplies, damaged equipment, or misplaced items. Simply put, getting your facility in order this spring will give you a leg up in the fight against Omicron and future variants.
Leveling Up Your Disinfection and Air Quality Protocols
Now that you understand the importance of spring cleaning, disinfection, and IAQ improvements against Omicron, you must take relevant actionable steps. For starters, consider hiring professional disinfection services to evaluate your current position and help you make lasting improvements that keep COVID and other diseases at bay. Disinfection experts go above and beyond the provision of standard spray and wipe products and methods – at The Budd Group, we deploy antimicrobial barrier technology that strongly clings to surfaces for several months at a time, killing germs on immediate contact. As for IAQ adjustments, it’s imperative to periodically clean and/or replace air filters as recommended by the manufacturer. It may also be time to replace your current air purification system with something more powerful and efficient, such as AIRBOX filtration systems. Additionally, opening doors and windows when the weather allows is a simple yet effective way of improving air circulation and quality in your facility.
Other Ways to Combat Omicron
Making key adjustments to your cleaning, disinfection, and air quality protocols will fortify your facility against Omicron and other contagions. There are also several additional ways to reduce Omicron transmission that extend beyond this facility maintenance. Encouraging or enforcing vaccination remains the most effective method for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the severity of symptoms. The CDC also recommends the continuation of proper masking for individuals and communities at higher risk of severe illness. You might also continue closely monitoring the health of all employees and occupants so individuals stay home when not feeling well. And, if possible, promoting partial or total remote work will help reduce the risk of COVID spread within your facility for the time being.
Here at The Budd Group, we’re committed to helping our clients maintain safe and healthy facilities and combat COVID-19 year-round. We achieve these goals with our comprehensive cleaning, disinfection, and air quality services. We also provide key COVID supplies (hand sanitizers, PPE, EPA-registered disinfectants, etc.) for facilities that need them. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158! And for more detailed information regarding facility cleaning and disinfection from the CDC, click here.