Businesses need to be prepared to respond to a coronavirus outbreak should it occur in their area. Commercial virus decontamination typically involves physically cleaning and disinfecting areas that have been determined to be contaminated. In dealing with COVID-19 (coronavirus), our 30+ years of experience as an industry leader positions us well to be your “go-to” company for decontamination using the most updated protocols available. AMERESTORE has been involved in successful projects all throughout the south and eastern seaboard, up to and including New York state. We are prepared to mobilize and be on site in most instances in 24 hours or less.
As new information is obtained every day, our processes are constantly being monitored and modified to reflect the most current information available. Some items to consider when forming a scope of work are:
As new information is obtained every day, our processes are constantly being monitored and modified to reflect the most current information available.
- Type of occupants in the building,
- The number of people currently infected,
- How long those people have been infected,
- The use of the commercial building,
- The normal hours of operation,
- High traffic areas within the building,
- Sensitive areas within the building.
What AMERESTORE Can Provide
Virus decontamination in a commercial building must only be handled by professionals trained in decontamination procedures. The decontamination company should, at a minimum, follow the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards for bloodborne pathogens, respiratory protection, and hazard communications. AMERESTORE technicians are also certified by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration) which is the standard for the industry. Prior work in hospitals and schools has led us to also obtain ICRA certification which provides specific training in Infection Control Risk Assessment protocols.
Characteristics of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Different families of viruses have many common characteristics and COVID-19 is no different. It is the newest member of the coronavirus family, but not all species of coronavirus are known to cause to severe illness. In fact, according to The Minnesota Department of Health, the coronavirus family is responsible for one-third of common cold cases. Coronaviruses also include the strains that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).1
The strain of Coronavirus that caused the 2003 SARS outbreak led to a total of 8,098 cases and 774 deaths, or a 9.5% mortality rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).2 Compared to COVID-19, and according to Johns Hopkins CSSE, as of 3/3/2020 at 11:42AM, there have been a total of 92,312 confirmed cases and 3,131 deaths, or a 3.39% fatality rate.3 While the mortality rate of SARS was higher and most cases of COVID-19 are mild, it seems obvious that COVID-19 is much more contagious or spreads more easily.
How COVID-19 Spreads
While more research is needed to determine exactly how COVID-19 is transmitted, these are the current best guesses of how it spreads:
- Close contact with infected people 4,6
- Saliva and mucous from mouth, nose, and lungs4
- You are most contagious when you show symptoms4
- You may be somewhat contagious before you show symptoms4
- It may be spread by touching a surface the virus is present on, and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.4
- On average, 1 person could infect approximately 3.28 other people5
- The virus could potentially live for up to 9 days on surfaces6
Nine days of a surface being infected is a long time, and although debatable, it would help explain the rapid global transmission of the disease. It would also explain why Princess Cruises is anticipated to spend what could be hundreds of millions of dollars to have their Diamond Princess ship completely decontaminated from bow to stern and top to bottom following the COVID-19 outbreak onboard. They understand that if there is another outbreak on the same ship which could be traced to the first, it would ruin their reputation, cause their stockholders to flee, and potentially put them out of business.
How to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus
Because COVID-19 is so new, researchers and the government do not have all the facts and are relying on past figures to determine how to manage COVID-19. However, based on historical coronaviruses with similar characteristics, we can make educated decisions. There is no reason to panic, but there are steps you can take to help prevent infection, such as:
- Treat it with slightly more caution than the flu
- Practice good hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds, and remind workers to do the same
- If soap is unavailable, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Keep hands away from your mouth, nose, and eyes
- Stay home if you’re sick and encourage staff to do the same.
- If you have an outbreak at your business, don’t treat it lightly and call the right people to help with decontamination
- This strain could live for extended periods of time on surfaces, so clean and disinfect frequently touched areas such as doorknobs daily
What Should Be Used To Inactivate The Virus?
While use of a hospital-grade disinfectant should make the coronavirus inert, the cleaning step is extremely important. The dirtier a surface is, the less effective the disinfectant will be. Deep cleaning of surfaces prior to disinfecting is the correct way to decontaminate and will result in a more successful decontamination project. After deep cleaning, applying the right disinfectant to the surface will inactivate any virus that might remain. According to current research, coronavirus can be inactivated on non-porous surfaces with solutions that contain the following concentrations of chemicals1,3:
- 62-72% ethanol
- .5% hydrogen peroxide
- .1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach)
These products can be found through various cleaning products available to consumers, but it is important that they are the proper concentration. If you decide to attempt disinfection yourself, be sure to read the product’s label and follow the instructions, use the proper protective gear, and remember to keep the product wet on the surface for at least 1 minute. For public buildings, especially in the case of severe outbreaks, it’s best to contact a professional virus decontamination company.
Can Heat Inactivate Coronavirus?
There has been some research on the effect of temperature and previous coronavirus strains. This research has shown that viruses tend to spread more easily and survive longer in cooler temperatures. Higher temperatures could reduce the duration for which certain strains of coronavirus can survive, specifically 86 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, or 30 to 40 degrees Celsius. The same article from Infection Control Today stated that at 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4 degrees Celsius, the virus could survive on surfaces for up to 28 days or longer. 3
What To Do?
Because COVID-19 is so new, researchers and the government do not have all the facts and are relying on past figures to determine how to manage COVID-19. However, based on historical coronaviruses with similar characteristics, we can make educated decisions and there is no reason to panic. By treating COVID-19 with slightly more caution than the flu, practicing good hygiene by washing hands frequently, and staying home if you are sick, you can help prevent infection.
If you have an outbreak at your business, don’t treat it lightly and call the right people to help with decontamination. Should you attempt virus decontamination and disinfection on your own, make sure to use the right disinfectants and allow enough dwell time. This strain could live for extended periods of time on surfaces, so clean and disinfect frequently touched areas such as doorknobs daily.