POST 26. May 14, 2020. CORONAVIRUS, “Deep cleaning is not a scientific concept”….”there is no universal protocol for a “deep clean” to eradicate the coronavirus”

“A man in Iowa just received a postcard from 1987 in the mail after his local post office deep cleaned because of the coronavirus pandemic…”

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“When the coronavirus hit, both UPMC Pinnacle…took their hospital cleaning protocols up a number of notches.

These days, the housekeeping staff make constant rounds wiping down “high-touch” hospital areas, even as visitors have been sharply curtailed.

There’s not a doorknob, elevator button, telephone, handrail, light switch, ATM, table, chair, nurse station, work station or mobile computer in the entire hospital that goes unsprayed or un-wiped for long…

When a COVID-19 patient leaves, it requires an even higher level of cleaning – along with a protection-first mindset – among those tasked with eradicating every last, lingering coronavirus molecule…

…his environmental services staff teams up in pairs when entering coronavirus patient rooms to perform what he called a “thorough cleaning and inspection.”…

The staff doubles up to sanitize these rooms doubly well. They do so totally protected with PPE and fully armed with hospital-strength cleaning agents and top-to-bottom wipe-down protocols…

Virtually everything in a coronavirus room is disinfected, with the housekeeping staff waiting a full 90 minutes after the patient leaves before entering and beginning their deep clean.” (A)

“With subway service set to halt for overnight cleaning beginning at 1 a.m. Wednesday, the MTA elaborated Monday on the plan they hope will help stop the spread of the coronavirus among riders and workers.

All 472 subway stations will be closed until 5 a.m., with 500 cleaners surging through the system.

The cleaning program will have three phases over 24 hours:

–Daytime Terminal Car Cleaning: After each train reaches its final destination, crews will remove trash, clean spills and bio hazards, and spot clean seats, floors, and other surfaces. Trains will also be disinfected at terminals during particular hours over the course of the day.

–Overnight Yard Cleaning: Trains in service during daytime hours but out of service at night will receive a more comprehensive cleaning every night in yards. Crews will remove garbage and graffiti, clean spills and bio hazards, mop floors, clean seats cleaning, and disinfect surfaces.

–Overnight Terminal Car Cleaning: Trains that remain in service at night will receive cleaning that is identical to the yard cleaning above, except at terminal stations.

Cleaning will include antimicrobial biostatistics and ultraviolet light, testing “multiple products from multiple companies.”

“Products that claim to eradicate COVID-19 for 30, 60 or 90 days, MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye said. “That would be great news. We are testing and piloting these things on an aggressive timeframe.” (B)

“The MTA would likely need to have its entire workforce cleaning and disinfecting trains, buses and stations around the clock to stop the deadly coronavirus from spreading, according to a public health expert.

But the transit agency’s plan to clean frequently used surfaces in stations once per day and trains and buses every 72 hours is likely the “best they can do” under the circumstances, said Anthony Santella, an associate professor of Public Health at Hofstra University.

“The transportation agency is not going to all of a sudden call every single one of its workers to work around the clock, 24/7. You probably need that to really clean things as much as they should be,” Santella told the Post, noting that multiple hands touch MTA surfaces every few seconds and that the virus often goes days undetected.

“Those resources simply do not exist. You would have to basically stop doing several other public health initiatives that are equally important to this,” he added. “What can they do without a lockdown or curfew or scaring people? Take precautions on things that could cause harm to New Yorkers.”” (C)

“While cleaning will help kill the virus if it’s on any of the surfaces, Dr. Stephen Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, told Gothamist/WNYC, “There’s only so much cleaning that can be done and you never know when something is going to become contaminated. They can’t guarantee that there won’t be someone who comes there and accidentally contaminates the environment because they may be infected.” (D)

“The effectiveness of the antimicrobial solutions and surface protectants are unknown, and MTA officials said they are working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to determine if they can eradicate viruses for extended periods, as manufacturers say. LIRR spokeswoman Meredith Daniels said the railroad is “anxiously awaiting” the results of the tests.

The MTA has not disclosed the names of the products, but several manufacturers from around the globe claim to have developed antimicrobial solutions that can protect surfaces against contamination for several months with just one application. The manufacturers said their products have been in use in hospitals, nursing homes and other settings for months, and have shown encouraging results, according to the MTA. Some products coat surfaces with millions of tiny capsules containing disinfectants that are activated and released upon human contact.

The MTA also has been testing since March the use of ultraviolet lamps to kill the coronavirus on buses, although officials noted UV light does not protect from future contamination.” (E)

“A school or an office is ultimately only as germ-free as the people in it. A complete disinfection can buy temporary peace of mind, but it’s no substitute for routine, ongoing cleaning. “As soon as we get done with our work, you open the door and somebody walks in,” Storrer says, “and boom, it might be all over.”” (F)

“While cleaning for the coronavirus is not that different from disinfecting for other viruses, like the flu or a common cold, industries are tailoring the cleaning in keeping with what makes sense for them. Public health officials suggest a few common steps can be used by both businesses and individual households: increasing the frequency of cleanings, using disinfectant products that federal officials say are effective, cleaning “high-touch” spots and making hand sanitizer readily available.

But there is no universal protocol for a “deep clean” to eradicate the coronavirus. Ridding it from smooth surfaces is easier than getting it out of upholstery or carpeting, for instance. And the key to eliminating the spread of the virus hinges on good hygiene practices.

“No cleaning protocol is perfect,” said Benjamin Lopman, an associate professor of epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta. But combining cleaning with other public health initiatives, such as social distancing, “will act in concert hopefully in reducing the transmission of the coronavirus,” he added.

Deep cleaning is not a scientific concept and likely means something different to individual businesses or consumers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for community facilities that have had people with suspected or confirmed coronavirus disease, called COVID-19. It recommends that “high-touch” surfaces be disinfected daily.

But not all forms of infection control are the same. Disinfectants kill germs on a surface. Cleaning can remove ― but not necessarily kill — viruses. Sanitizing refers to lowering the number of infectious agents to a safe level through cleaning or disinfecting an area.

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a list of registered cleaning products that work against hardier germs and are presumed to be good options to fight the novel virus, said Karen Hoffmann, the immediate past president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

“This virus is actually very sensitive to all the common cleaning and disinfecting agents out there, so that’s the good news,” said Hoffmann…

A spokesperson for the American Hospital Association said that while frequent cleaning is standard, hospitals are giving special attention to “high-touch surfaces such as in-room phones, TV/nurse calls, light switches and cords, handles, drawer pulls, bed rails, tray tables and bathroom fixtures.” “ (G)

“A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week found that SARS-CoV-2 can persist on some surfaces for up to three days in amounts sufficient to get someone sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that people concerned about spreading the virus regularly wipe down frequently touched surfaces, like doorknobs and light switches, with a strong disinfectant.

Whether full-room disinfections are necessary is not always clear. Certainly, it’s not sufficient to keep a space safe: The virus can also be transmitted from droplets floating in the air, not just surfaces. As Noyman points out, the moment cleaners leave, passers-by begin to undo all their work.

And some cleaning methods have only mixed support. The Environmental Protection Agency has put out a list of approved disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2, but the list currently only includes chemicals. Olinger said that, based on current evidence, while steam can kill the virus, it needs a lengthier application time than some users may realize. “At this point during the pandemic I would not use steam at all,” Wilcox wrote, citing a lack of strong evidence. Some industry representatives, including Wayne Delfino, whose family owns Advanced Vapor Technologies of Everett, Washington, however, insist that dry steam vapor works. The company’s non-chemical, “Thermo Accelerated Nano Crystal Sanitation” technology, he wrote in an email, “has been tested and proven effective on harder-to-kill viruses and on a similar human coronavirus in seven seconds or less.”

While opinions vary, thorough cleaning of any kind can offer some peace of mind – and many techniques do kill pathogens. “Any time you can minimize your exposure, you’re helping yourself out,” said Jonathan Sexton, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona who studies disinfection.” (H)

“Firstly, deep cleaning isn’t a scientific concept and likely means different things to different people and businesses…

General cleaning refers to that done on a daily basis, focusing on washrooms and carpets, and other easy to access areas, and is often done around people using that space. Deep cleaning, however, is much more intense.

“[Deep cleaning] causes more disruption so it’s done at the weekend or overnight when the users aren’t present. Chemicals could be used, and we need time for carpets to dry,” Liang says.

The company’s disinfection service is even more intense and requires a specialised team with the correct gear, PPE (personal protective equipment) masks and hazmat suits. If a ULV (ultra-low volume) fogger is used then time must be allowed for the chemical agents to settle. (I)

“The New York Stock Exchange was not built for social distancing. But it is not ready to close and send the traders home because of the coronavirus.

And so, starting late Friday night, the stock exchange got fully sanitized for the first time since the iconic neoclassical building opened in 1903. More precisely, it got a “deep clean.”

The process took eight hours and a crew of 10 specialists. These deep cleanings are planned to be repeated weekly, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. But those in charge of the building and many of the traders themselves believe the New York Stock Exchange — a symbol of American economic might and stability — is too important to shut down.

The disinfection crew wore matching hazardous material suits, reflective yellow vests, doubled-up blue gloves, goggles and purple respirators.

The hazmat suit-clad cleaning team wandered and sprayed every surface — computers, chair legs, tables, floor, everything — with Z BioScience Multi-Task Probiotic Cleaner. They threw out every paper they encountered, making piles of notes and printer paper. They wiped the surfaces down.

Next, they rolled out a big yellow tank and a couple of crew members put on tank backpacks. Using a specialized sprayer that looked like a paint gun, they coated everything with Anasphere, a biohazard disinfectant. This was the most toxic step.

They left the disinfectant there for about ten minutes to allow it to cure. They worked quietly at the beginning. As the night wore on, they talked and joked a little more.

The last step was preventive. They applied a probiotic layer — Z BioScience Enviro-Mist Microflora spray — that would stay on all the surfaces and buy them a couple more days until the process needed to start again…

The disinfection crew sprayed just about everything but the opening bell.

They finished early Saturday morning, funneling out in civilian clothes before the sun rose over Wall Street, quiet on a weekend.” (J)

“How can you decontaminate COVID-19 when an outbreak occurs in a commercial building?  How can you decontaminate for a new virus we know so little about? Until further information is produced, the CDC has directed cruise ships, hospitals, schools, and businesses to rely on interim guidance for disinfection based on the past successful decontamination techniques used for previous strains of coronavirus.  It would be best to consider worst case scenarios and use the best-known decontamination practices, equipment, and personal protective equipment. Cutting corners could be risking infection.

Some of the questions to ask with any virus decontamination project are:

What areas where infected people in?

Who have they come in contact with, and what areas do those people occupy?

What type of HVAC system is in the building?

What is the design of the ductwork?

What are the high traffic areas in the building?

What are the main areas of ingress and egress?

How quickly does the building need to be operational?

Bringing in the proper industry experts would be advised.  These experts should include an engineer who is familiar with the construction of the building including the HVAC system, an HVAC company that follows the National Air Duct Association Standards (NADCA) and is familiar with decontaminating ductwork, an industrial Hygienist who is specialized in virus and bacteria decontamination to write the overall protocol and provide testing services, and a decontamination company that has experience with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) use and proper training including OSHA Disaster Site Worker and HAZWOPER 40 certificates.  HAZWOPER training is a requirement for all workers completing the decontamination.2 These companies should also be familiar working with multiple materially interested parties on commercial projects to facilitate efficient communication.” (K)

“When Vanessa is asked to clean up after patients who have the seasonal flu or measles or MRSA in the Pennsylvania hospital where she works in environmental services, she knows what to do. She knows how to disinfect surfaces, what needs to be thrown away and what she should wear to protect herself. But when she’s asked to clean rooms occupied by COVID-19 patients, she’s flying blind.

“It’s kind of terrifying,” says Vanessa, who TIME is identifying by first name only for professional protection. Her supervisors told her to clean the rooms just as she would for a flu patient, but she says she’s treating them like she would for more serious illnesses—throwing out nearly everything disposable, mopping the walls and scrubbing every inch—to be safe. “No one knows exactly how to clean it. We don’t know how contagious this is.”

At a time when cleaning supplies are invaluable and hand-washing is a national activity, people who clean professionally, like Vanessa, have watched their jobs take on new meaning—and considerable new risks. But what has remained the same, they say, is a lack of respect and, often, inadequate compensation.

Vanessa, for example, makes only about $11 an hour for the unenviable job of disinfecting hospital rooms, often without proper protective gear for herself. The fresh N-95 masks still available in her hospital, she says, are mostly going to doctors and nurses; she and her housekeeping colleagues often have to reuse the ones they have. She says she might have stopped showing up at work if she didn’t need the money, especially since she has underlying health conditions that put her at extra risk of getting COVID-19.

“Because I’m working there,” Vanessa says, “I’m too afraid to go see my family right now.” She lives with her best friend, and is staying away from her parents’ home for now….

“There are people who really do appreciate [us] and know the janitors are in a big risk,” K.T. says. “But there are a lot of people who…don’t even look at the bottom, and they see us at the bottom.”

The risks cleaning professionals assume might be easier to stomach, Vanessa says, if they were recognized publicly.

“Us housekeepers, we have families, we have health issues, we have people and animals we go home to that we could be giving this to,” Vanessa says. “The doctors and nurses have that too, but they get recognized. No one ever mentions the people who clean it up after they’re gone.”” (L)

“Nearly 70 Environmental Services workers fan out through Presbyterian Medical Center every morning to clean the hospital.

While most of America is on its first cup of coffee, the first shift of nearly 70 team members line a fluorescent hallway at 7 a.m. deep inside Presbyterian Medical Center…

Once a patient has been discharged, the workers don extra protective gear for a vigorous “terminal clean.” The room is first misted with a deep cleaning chemical to kill any virus before the crew goes in. From there, the walls and floor are disinfected and everything is stripped, with the team sweeping through on a clockwise rotation to stay organized and make sure nothing is missed. Other layers of protection concerning ventilation and air flow also come into play…

Meanwhile, little on-the-job routines keep environmental services workers going through their days as they constantly slather hand sanitizer and strip off one pair of lavender latex gloves and replace them with another while moving from room to room.”  (M)

“Some large West Coast employers, including Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, have promised to pay their entire workforce, from janitor to engineers, for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis, regardless of whether or not they’re working. But not all are so lucky. The policy at Alliance Building Services, a contractor that supplies more than 750 janitors to properties around Seattle, is for employees to use regular vacation or sick days in case they fall ill with the novel coronavirus. The company has also forgone extra training or protective equipment for employees.

“It’s just a flu — a very contagious, fast-spreading flu — but it’s just a flu, so it’s easy to kill,” said Scott Smith, the principal of the company.

In a sense, he’s right, epidemiologists say: Like the coronaviruses that cause the common cold and seasonal influenza, the novel coronavirus that brings on Covid-19 is vulnerable to such standard interventions as soap, water, bleach, UV light, and alcohol-based cleaners. But once the virus gets transmitted, Covid-19 appears to have a far higher mortality rate than the seasonal flu, especially for older people or those with compromised immune systems.

Should they contract the virus, lower-income immigrant workers may also be among the most vulnerable populations, because they often struggle to access medical care and public health information in their own language, and may lack the financial resources to stock up on food and medicines. Immigration enforcement agencies have stopped making most arrests during the Covid-19 crisis, in an effort to encourage undocumented people to seek treatment if they need it.” (N)

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, House Education and Labor Committee Chair Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and 20 other representatives are sponsoring a partisan bill that would require OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard for health care facilities to implement comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plans.

The COVID-19 Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2020 (H.R. 6139) would direct OSHA to publish the temporary standard within 30 days.

“Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues guidance to protect health care workers, the guidance is not binding and OSHA currently has no enforceable standard to protect workers from airborne infectious diseases,” a March 10 press release from Scott’s office states, “leaving the nation’s health care workers at an elevated risk of exposure to the coronavirus at a time when they are needed most.”..

On March 5, Scott and Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), chair of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia and acting OSHA administrator Loren Sweatt. “If health care workers are quarantined in large numbers, or get ill or die, or fear coming to work due to the risks, it’s not just a personal or workplace problem, it’s a national public health disaster,” the letter states. “OSHA is the only agency in the federal government authorized to enforce safe working conditions for the nation’s workers – including those in health care facilities.

“As we enter into what is likely to be the greatest infectious disease crisis this country has faced in over a century, it is in the national interest that OSHA be on the forefront of protecting workers essential to the country’s health care system.”

National Nurses United – the nation’s largest union and professional association of direct care registered nurses – petitioned OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard, in a March 4 letter sent to Scalia and Sweatt.

OSHA published employer guidance on the coronavirus March 9 in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency also published its COVID-19 webpage in January, not long after the first documented case in the United States.” (O)

“A man in Iowa just received a postcard from 1987 in the mail after his local post office deep cleaned because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to CNN.

Seventy-six-year-old Paul Willis checked his mail at noon, like he does every day, and was surprised to see a piece of mail from over three decades ago. CNN reports it was a postcard from Havasu Falls, Arizona that had a photo of his younger sister Lovell — now 65 and living in California — on the other side.

It has a San Francisco postage stamp marked for December 18, 1987 and a newer stamp from Des Moines dated April 29, 2020, CNN says.

Willis reached out to his sister to thank her for the mail, according to CNN, and both were curious as to how it ended up in his mailbox this late. He then made another call to the post office.

“I asked if they had any insight and she just told me that many of the post offices were doing deep cleanings because of COVID-19 and that’s what we think had just happened,” he said. “And somebody thought enough to stick it back in the mail.”

A picture really is worth a thousand words.” (P)

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