How to Prevent the Spread of the Flu and Coronavirus in the Workplace
By now, people in the U.S. are aware of the dangers of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, as well as its presence in the U.S. As of this writing, there are 116,948 known cases of coronavirus throughout the world with 4,095 deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) is reporting a 3.4 percent death rate of the coronavirus. While this number does not seem high, the rapid spread of this disease with no vaccine to prevent infection is a major cause for concern.
The COVID-19 virus originated in Wuhan, China and spread rapidly as cases have been identified in 115 countries and territories. Major events have been cancelled around the world, travel has been restricted, and Italy has implemented a country-wide lockdown to control the spread of the virus. The cases of coronavirus in the U.S. are low compared to other countries, but they are appearing fast. As of this writing, there are 19 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Washington, DC area, including the surrounding areas in Virginia and Maryland.
The presence of the coronavirus in the U.S., and in the Washington, DC area, is a cause for concern. The disease can spread easily from person to person which makes people especially vulnerable in public places. It is important to keep commercial and public buildings cleaned and sanitized to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and other common illnesses like the flu.
At ServiceMaster NCR, we provide commercial cleaning and disinfection services to help stop the spread of dangerous illnesses. We work with medical professionals as well as officials from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and WHO to help effectively prevent the spread of these diseases. Our staff has helped control outbreaks in the past, including Norovirus, Tuberculosis, and MRSA and our cleaning products and methods can be used to help control the spread of COVID-19.
What is the Coronavirus?
The novel coronavirus is a new type of coronavirus that has not previously been identified. Therefore, there may be some confusion about the virus itself, its symptoms, how it spreads, and how you can protect yourself and your workplace.
The following are some of the most commonly asked questions concerning the coronavirus. For more, check out the coronavirus FAQ from the CDC:
COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus that has not been previously known or identified. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses known to cause respiratory diseases in animals and humans, and some of these viruses that affect animals have spread to humans. Previous examples of coronaviruses that have spread from animals to humans include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 is believed to have originated from animals.
How does coronavirus spread?
COVID-19 can spread rather easily from person to person. It appears to be quite contagious as it spreads quickly through communities.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that causes coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. The symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure and they can be mild to sever depending on the individual infected. If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms, consult a healthcare professional about being tested.
Who is most at risk of COVID-19?
People of any age and health condition can be infected with the virus, but people above the age of 60 and those who have chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems are at risk of more serious symptoms. The death rate for COVID-19 increases rapidly for those above the age of 60.
How Can I Keep My Workplace Protected from Coronavirus?
Because coronavirus can spread from person to person, it is very important to take every precaution possible in commercial buildings, schools, and other public spaces. There are a number of things you can do in your workplace, building, school, or facility to help prevent the spread of the flu, coronavirus, and other illnesses amongst employees, customers, and students:
- ♦ Make sure employees who are sick or show signs of sickness stay home. Flexible sick day policies will ensure that employees stay home if they have a fever or other symptoms.
- ♦ Encourage handwashing with verbal reminders and signage near all sinks. People should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. You can also have hand sanitizer available for use.
- ♦ Remind employees and students of good etiquette such as coughing or sneezing into one’s elbow and throwing away used tissues.
- ♦ Advise employees who have family members affected by COVID-19 to inform their supervisor and co-workers.
- ♦ If someone is showing signs of an illness, either send them home or isolate them until they can go home.
- ♦ Regularly clean high touchpoint areas such as desktops, doorknobs, phones, keyboards, etc. with EPA-registered cleaning products.
Commercial Cleaning and Disinfection Services
The best way to help prevent the spread of the flu, coronavirus, and other diseases in your workplace is to have it cleaned and disinfected by professionals. At ServiceMaster NCR, we offer thorough commercial cleaning and disinfection services to clean and sanitize your building and prevent a pathogen outbreak on your property. We work with the CDC, WHO, medical professionals, and government agencies to develop an effective cleaning and disinfection method using EPA-registered cleaning products.
Our cleaning and sanitization process consists of the following:
- ♦ We start by taking all necessary precautions for our safety including using personal protective equipment (PPE).
- ♦ Critical exposure points and high touch areas are isolated and disinfected.
- ♦ Cleaning and disinfection are done to other areas of the building.
- ♦ We only use EPA-registered cleaning products and disinfectants that can treat various surfaces.
- ♦ All contaminated cleaning materials are properly disposed of.
We can provide our commercial cleaning and disinfection services for the following:
- ♦ Schools and universities
- ♦ Childcare centers
- ♦ Assisting living facilities and nursing homes
- ♦ Office buildings and other workplaces
- ♦ Gyms and fitness centers
- ♦ Healthcare facilities
- ♦ Other public and commercial buildings
As more cases of coronavirus appear in the Washington, DC area, be proactive in preventing its spread by having our professionals at ServiceMaster NCR clean and sanitize your building. Give us a call at (703) 212-7000 to learn more or schedule a cleaning service.