How to Protect Your Facility from 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)
To help you navigate the best way to control the spread of this virus and to prevent an outbreak from occurring in your facility, Kinsale has gathered information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and several other organizations.
We’ll go over the basic facts about 2019 Novel Coronavirus and how to protect your facility and guests.
What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV for short, is the virus that is causing an outbreak of the respiratory illness (COVID-19) which was first detected in China but has now been detected in 60 countries worldwide.
As of February 11th, 2020, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) has released the official name for 2019 Novel Coronavirus as “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” (SARS-CoV-2).
Since this is such a new virus, the CDC’s current knowledge of this virus is based on what is known about similar coronaviruses.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that include Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). As stated by the World Health Organization, “novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.”
SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19, a mild to severe respiratory illness.
Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, respiratory symptoms and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and death.
How is COVID-19 Transmitted?
Similar to cold and flu viruses, the emerging coronavirus disease is thought to spread from person-to-person via respiratory droplets or when an infected individual coughs or sneezes.
According to the CDC, it is still unknown if a person can actually get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic (showing signs of illness), however, there have been cases of infected individuals with no symptoms spreading the illness to others when in close contact.
The elderly, those with underlying health issues, and people who have recently traveled to China are most at risk.
How to Prevent the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Your Facility
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease. The best method of prevention is reducing the spread of germs.
Best practices to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in your facility include:
- Follow Proper Handwashing Procedures and Wash Hands Frequently
- Have Hand Sanitizer Accessible
- Provide Occupants with Facial Tissue
- Avoid Close Contact with People who are Sick
- Encourage Sick Individuals to Stay Home if Showing Symptoms
- Clean and Disinfect to Prevent the Spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus
Follow Proper Handwashing Procedures
Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of illness and to avoid getting sick.
Encourage proper handwashing procedures. Occupants should scrub their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing with running water.
Remind building occupants to wash their hands carefully and frequently especially:
- after going to the bathroom
- before eating
- after coughing or sneezing
- before touching their eyes, nose or mouth
Have Hand Sanitizer Accessible
When water and soap are not available or there is limited access, hand sanitizers can play an integral role in hand hygiene.
Provide occupants with alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, to kill and prevent the spread of germs.
Hand sanitizer can also be used when an individual has come into contact with a high-touched surface, like a doorknob, phone, or light switch, or when it is not practical to wash their hands repeatedly.
Provide Occupants with Facial Tissue
Because germs can spread through aerosolized droplets, it is important to encourage building occupants to cough or sneeze into a facial tissue and dispose of it right away.
If a facial tissue isn’t available, encourage people to cough or sneeze into the bend of their elbow to prevent the spread of droplets.
Avoid Close Contact with People Who Are Sick
Spreading from person-to-person, transmission occurs among close contact or when individuals come in contact with an infected person who is within 6 feet.
If someone is showing signs of illness such as coughing, keep a measurable distance to reduce the chance of germs spreading.
Encourage Sick Individuals to Stay Home if Showing Symptoms
Prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 or any other illness by encouraging individuals to stay home from work or school when they are experiencing symptoms.
Clean and Disinfect to Prevent the Spread of SARS-CoV-2
Contamination of surfaces is likely occurring when an infected individual coughs or sneezes and releases respiratory droplets.
As a result, cleaning and disinfecting high touch points around your facility like doorknobs, elevator buttons, countertops and handrails, as well as encouraging occupants to disinfect items in their immediate area, like their desk, phone, and computer can help limit the spread of pathogens.
For disinfectants to prove effective, the surface must first be cleaned. Cleaning removes loose soils, preparing the surface or object to be disinfected. Disinfecting kills germs on the surface, preventing them from spreading. If a surface is not cleaned first, germs can hide under soils and reduce the efficacy of the disinfectant.