This guidance provides information on how and when to clean and disinfect community facilities, e.g. places where the public, customers or employees have access. It is not intended for healthcare or senior care facilities.
Covid-19 is primarily spread by people via respiratory droplets or finer aerosols containing viral particles. These viral particles can land on surfaces, and there is a possibility for people to become infected if they touch these surfaces and then touch their nose, mouth or eyes. In most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low and it is not a known cause of transmission of Covid-19. However, the most reliable way to prevent infection from surfaces is to regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
WHAT TO DO
N.B. If there has been a sick person or someone who tested positive for Covdi-19 within the last 24 hours you should clean AND disinfect the spaces they occupied.
WAIT –Research shows that by waiting for 24 hours, the presence of Covid-19 virus on a surface has significantly dropped. If possible wait 24 hours before cleaning known contaminated areas, or at least several hours. Close off the area used by the sick person and do not use those areas until after cleaning and disinfecting.
VENTILATE - Increase ventilation by opening doors and windows and using fans or HVAC, to increase air circulation in the area.
CLEAN – Remove all dirt and impurities from surfaces using water and detergent
For routine cleaning in a non-healthcare workplace, physical cleaning with water and detergent is usually sufficient. However, for frequently touched surfaces, disinfection as well as cleaning is recommended.
DISINFECT – Use of chemicals to kill germs, bacteria and viruses on surfaces. Use appropriate EPA approved disinfectant, (D-List) such as bleach (sodium hypochlorite), but only after cleaning the surface first.
PROTECT- Read product labels and ensure correct protection (PPE) is used. Gloves are a minimum, but aprons and eye protection may be indicated. Wash hands after removing gloves and follow product label instructions for handling, using and disposing of chemicals.
DISPOSE – Dispose of trash and PPE in closed trash bags. Ideally wait 24 hours before disposal along with general trash.
Advice on Cleaning:
Develop a plan.
Focus on the immediate areas occupied by the person who is sick or diagnosed with Covid-19, unless they have already been cleaned and disinfected.
If less than 24 hours have passed since the person who is sick or diagnosed with Covid-19 has been in the space, clean and disinfect the space.
If more than 24 hours has passed since the sick person has been in the space, cleaning is enough. You may choose to also disinfect depending on certain conditions or everyday practices required by your facility.
If more than 3 days have passed since the person who is sick or diagnosed with Covid-19 has been in the facility, no additional cleaning (beyond regular cleaning practices) is needed.
Evaluate the area to be cleaned. Identify and prioritize high or frequently touched surfaces- these may include; phones, counters, keyboards, touchscreens, tables, chairs, handrails, light switches, door knobs, and drawer cabinet and closet handles. Clean bathroom facilities thoroughly including sinks, taps/faucets, toilet lids, seats and levers. Clean stall doors handles and dividers, including surrounding tile, soap and towel dispenser.
Determine frequency of cleaning and if regular disinfection is needed. You may wish to clean more frequently or choose to disinfect (in addition to cleaning) shared spaces if certain conditions apply such as:
- High transmission of Covid-19 in community
- Low no. of persons wearing masks or poor hand hygiene frequency
- Space used by person with increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19
Consider resources, equipment and products needed.
It is highly recommended that all workplaces are cleaned at least daily.
Clean soft surfaces – launder items on the hottest wash recommended. Clean items that cannot be laundered with spray or cleaners recommended for the surface.
Advice on Disinfecting:
Focus on the immediate areas occupied by the person who is sick sick or diagnosed with Covid-19, unless they have already been cleaned and disinfected.
When and how disinfection must be carried out depends on the likelihood of contaminated material being present in a particular area or space. Focus on the immediate areas occupied by the person who is sick or diagnosed with Covid-19, unless they have already been cleaned and disinfected.
Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and then disinfected at least once a day.
Cleaning and Disinfection should be carried out where there is a high volume of workers, customers or visitors who are likely to touch surfaces, or if equipment is shared between workers or others.
Ensure good ventilation of the area by opening doors and windows, and use fans or HVAC, to increase air circulation in the area.
Follow manufacturers’ directions, including those for method of application, dilution levels and contact time.
Alternative Disinfection methods:
The effectiveness of alternative surface disinfection methods such as ultrasonic waves, high intensity UV radiation and LED blue light against the Covid-19 virus has not been fully established.
In most cases, fogging, fumigation and wide-area or electrostatic spraying is not recommended as a primary method of surface disinfection and has several safety risks.
COMMERCIAL AND CUSTODIAL CLEANING GUIDELINES
The following precautions should be taken at commercial facilities with suspected or confirmed cases of covid-19:
Close off the area used by the sick person and wait 24 hours if practical (or a minimum of several hours) before cleaning and disinfecting.
When cleaning and disinfecting
Open all doors and windows to increase ventilation and circulation.
Focus on the immediate areas occupied by the person who is sick or diagnosed with Covid-19 (e.g. offices, bathrooms, common areas).
Clean with water and detergent solution. Avoid splashes and spraying while cleaning.
High pressure washing is not recommended.
Disinfect using diluted bleach (1/3 cup per gallon) or EPA registered disinfectant approved for Covid-19 ( N-List). Follow all label instructions and ensure product is not expired.
When and how disinfection is required depends on the likelihood of contaminated material being present in a particular area or space. Focus on the immediate areas occupied by the sick or diagnosed with Covid-19 person.
Clean and then disinfect all frequently touched surfaces
For soft, porous surfaces, such as upholstered chairs, carpets and drapes, remove visible contamination with appropriate cleaners and launder as appropriate.
Do not shake soiled laundry to minimize contamination. Clean and disinfect anything used to transport laundry items.
If items cannot be cleaned or laundered, use sanitizing steam to clean and disinfect.
Personal Protective Equipment PPE
- At a minimum, disposable gloves, aprons and face masks should be worn by all cleaning staff.
- Ensure gloves used are compatible with cleaning products chosen.
- Follow all safety precautions as outlined in the product Safety Data Sheet, including those for PPE use.
- PPE must be removed properly to avoid possible contamination of the wearer and surrounding areas.
- Disposable gloves should be properly removed and discarded after each cleaning. Cleaning personnel must wash hands immediately after PPE is removed
- If surfaces contain visible bodily fluids, additional PPE is required to protect the eyes, nose and mouth. Protective masks and eye protection must be worn in this case.
- Only re-usable PPE (goggles etc) should be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not clean and re-use disposable PPE.
Disposal of Waste and PPE
- As a general precaution, all disposable cleaning items and waste should be double bagged and stored securely for 24 hours after the cleaning process. Following this, waste can be discarded with general trash.
- All hazardous chemicals must be properly handled and disposed of according to the manufacturer and local hazardous-waste disposal requirements.
All people required to perform cleaning duties in commercial facilities with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 must be adequately trained in the following:
- General guidance and information about infection prevention and control measures, including those for COVID-19 - IPC training course as a minimum (available at Infection Prevention and Control Training | Government of Bermuda (www.gov.bm)).
- Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) requirements when cleaning, and when to use/how to choose appropriate PPE.
- Proper steps for using, putting on (donning) and taking off (doffing) PPE.
- Guidelines for disposal of waste and PPE, as outlined above.
- Hazards associated with handling, use, storage and disposal of all cleaning and disinfecting chemicals used, as outlined in the chemical safety data sheet (SDS).