The impacts of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, have left many wondering how they can protect themselves and others from infection. While there is still a lot that is unknown about the virus, public health officials and cleaning professionals have been working diligently to find effective solutions.
What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
According to the CDC, the first human coronavirus was identified in the mid 1960s. COVID-19 is a new strain that we’ve never seen before in humans. Like SARS-CoV, it is one of three animal coronaviruses that can infect and spread among people.
COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China where thousands of cases have been confirmed. Illnesses range from little to no symptoms at all, to people becoming severely ill and dying.
There have been over 68,000 confirmed cases and over 1,000 deaths in the United States. The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic and since this declaration, a public quarantine, or social distancing, has been enforced in many countries including the U.S. (*Information changes daily. Please confirm that this data is still true by visiting cdc.gov)
Common symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath. It is clear that the virus spreads person-to-person. The CDC claims that people suffering from respiratory illnesses are thought to be the most contagious when they are the most symptomatic.
Older adults and people of any age with underlying health conditions are at higher risk for more serious complications.
Can you disinfect against COVID-19?
The first plan of action is to break the chain of infection, but where do you start when a new virus is the source of a major outbreak?
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that infections SARS-CoV-2 can survive for only up to 72 hours on plastic and steel, and up to 24 hours on cardboard.
Cleaning personnel should use disinfectants that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. These disinfectants can be found on LIST N published on the EPA’s website.
Disinfectants are only effective when instructions for use are followed consistently. This is true when combatting any infectious outbreak. Having a program in place that includes touch point disinfection and electrostatic disinfection, led by certified professionals can help to ensure industry standards are upheld.
When selecting a disinfectant always check kill claims. OctoClean has invested in an electrostatic disinfection system by EvaClean paired with their PURTABS or PUR:ONE tablets. Both are EPA registered disinfectants with one minute kill claims for Coronavirus.
While there is no vaccine for COVID-19, there are a few everyday preventive actions you can take to protect yourself:
- Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap isn’t available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using proper disinfectants.
Where Do I Go for Information about COVID-19?
Be alert as new information about the virus surfaces, but only trust credible sources. There is a lot of information targeted at inciting fear, only to receive more clicks and page views. A reputable source you can always trust is the CDC.