What we know now about COVID-19
The Sars-Cov-2 virus is transmitted from person to person by direct contact, through the air (either through droplets or fine airborne particles) and via surfaces. However, recent research suggests that the risk of transmissions via surfaces is significantly lower compared to direct or airborne infection.
It is still not clear, however, how these findings translate in the real world. The risk changes depending on how much of the virus was expelled, and the surrounding environmental conditions (like heat, ventilation and the porosity of the surface material). Yes, few reports have attributed surface contact as the potential cause — but in real world environments, infection likely transmits via multiple pathways. The conclusion: transmission via surfaces are not the primary danger, but the risk cannot be ruled out.
How this affects you:
With this clearer understanding of how the virus spreads, the CDC has revised its recommendations for protecting facilities from COVID-19.
- Cleaning and disinfection: When there are no cases of COVID-19 reported in the facility, cleaning once a day is sufficient for mitigating the risk of surface transmission. Disinfection is still recommended for high-touch surfaces and high-traffic areas, using products from Environmental Protection Agency’s List N, which have been proven effective against COVID-19
- Practices: Regular hand washing and mask wearing among facility occupants are key to dramatically reducing the risk of all forms of virus transmission. Facilities then can opt to clean and disinfect more frequently if there is a lack of compliance to these guidelines. Managers can also consider increasing frequency if high-risk populations use the building often (like children or the elderly), and if the surrounding community has a high rate of transmission. It is worth noting that the tri-county area (Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade) leads the state in COVID-19 cases.
- Response to a COVID-19 outbreak: When there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 inside a facility within the last 24 hours, the interior should be cleaned and disinfected.