Coronavirus was first detected in China in December of 2019. Nearly one hundred people died from the respiratory virus in a single day in February as the overall death toll in the country approaches 1,000. A rise in reported cases of coronavirus in the U.S. has prompted government officials to declare a public health emergency. Let’s look at some coronavirus safeguards for your buildings.
News of any epidemic is a cause for public concern. A lack of awareness and a plan to deal with the potential impact of the coronavirus can turn that concern into panic. Building owners and facilities managers need to be vigilant in preventing the spread of coronavirus in buildings and on campuses. They need to educate and protect occupants.
What is Coronavirus?
The coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a novel virus, meaning it has never been seen before. It creates pneumonia-like symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever, and coughing. The virus is transmitted by tiny droplets of water that travel through the air by coughing and sneezing. Then it enters the lungs to infect the person. The virus also spreads through contact with high-touch areas and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.
While it is too early to make predictions about how the virus will impact the U.S., building owners and facilities managers still need to undertake some coronavirus safeguards. Preparing for the coronavirus is approached in the same way as other annual flu outbreaks. Plans for education and awareness, providing protective equipment, and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces are necessary.
The following elements should be a part of any preparedness plan.
Educate Building Occupants
The Center for Disease Control makes the following recommendations to the public to limit the spread of the coronavirus. All building occupants should be aware of this.
- Wash hands often for up to 20 seconds each time.
- Cover the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away immediately then wash hands.
- Avoid contact with infected individuals.
- Clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces and objects.
Provide Protective Equipment
Public buildings and the campuses of schools, universities, and hospitals especially, are at high risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Employees of healthcare facilities need protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and gowns. Custodial staff should also have gloves and surgical masks for protection when handling waste.
Schedule Disinfection Services
High-touch surfaces and objects such as countertops, door handles, phones, and computer equipment, should be cleaned and disinfected throughout the building. A comprehensive disinfection service is effective in limiting the spread of respiratory viruses. The PURE-Decon room disinfection service, provided by Pure Air Control Services, uses an EPA-validated hydrogen peroxide and silver solution that kills 99.9 percent of germs. The process uses a dry mist that leaves no residue. It can permeate hard-to-reach areas that get missed by other topical cleaners. PURE-Decon kills viruses and then dissipates into the air after application.
Update Emergency Plans
Health officials know how the coronavirus gets transmitted and how to limit its spread, but it is difficult to make predictions about the impact it could have in the U.S. Should the virus spread throughout the country, employees, tenants, and all building occupants will be at risk. Whether that results in the use of quarantines, like those used in China, is unknown. Every organization should be aware of the possibilities and update their emergency plans accordingly. This should include plans for emergency notifications, business continuity, scheduling increases for cleaning and disinfecting, an inspection of HVAC systems, providing relevant resources for information, and staying updated on the latest developments provided by the CDC and the World Health Organization.
We Can Help
Protect your facilities with coronavirus safeguards before an outbreak occurs. Get your building and HVAC system hygienically cleaned and disinfected. Pure Air Control’s Building Remediation Sciences provides professional indoor environmental services for commercial, industrial, institutional and government facilities. To contact Pure Air Control Services with questions about the PURE-Decon room disinfection service and Building Remediation Sciences, call 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.