Keeping workplaces clean and disinfected to protect employees from the threat of COVID-19 is essential. But when it comes to public settings, where large numbers of individuals might congregate, the challenge is significantly greater. However, with enhanced cleaning routines using only disinfectants recognized as effective, the task is very much achievable.The greatest problem with public settings is not the area it covers; that relates to time and resources. To be effective against novel coronavirus, aspects like frequency, targeting, and the quality of the disinfecting products are more important. In fact, according to the COVID19 cleaning and disinfecting protocols for public settings released by public health services, only products that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN) or Natural Product Number (NPN) from Health Canada should be used at a frequency of twice daily – for high-touch areas especially.
Public Setting ChallengeWhile workplaces, like offices, have specific numbers of known individuals (employees) and clients entering and leaving an enclosed area, public settings are very different. They include schools, universities, bus and train stations, ports and airports, and entertainment venues like stadia, theatres, and open-air plazas. So, they typically have high volumes of traffic moving in and out, making it very difficult to manage the risk of COVID19 contamination. As a type of coronavirus, like the common cold, SARS and MERS, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) spreads through the transfer of respiratory droplets from an infected person to others they come in close contact with. While research has proven aerosol transfers can happen (which is why face masks have become mandatory in many places), it has also proven that the virus can survive on hard surfaces for anything between a few hours and 9 days. This is why frequent cleaning and disinfecting is so essential.
Key Aspects of COVID-19 ConcernThere are three main aspects of principal concern if public settings are to be kept clean of the coronavirus: hard surfaces, high-touch surfaces, and personal sanitization. Each area needs to be addressed to ensure the highest levels of cleaning and disinfecting but require individual approaches – and suitable products – to clean and disinfect.
- Hard Surfaces
Whether worktops, counters, desks, tables, seats, walls, cabinets, or commonly handled equipment, the list of hard surfaces in any public setting is extensive. But the matter is complicated by certain caveats that must be taken into account.
For example, it would be unsafe to use certain bleach products on surfaces that come in contact with food. There is also the issue of corrosive damage caused by bleach and the threat of toxic Chlorine fumes, especially in enclosed areas.
So, popular industrial bleaches, which may kill the coronavirus, can cause more problems than they solve. What is more, with some hard surfaces covering relatively large areas, the method of disinfecting against COVID19 is important if maximum efficacy is to also prove cost-effective.
Velocity Chemicals’ VELOSAN (DIN# 02280825) is a quaternary ammonium compound which is non-acidic but cleans and disinfects effectively. It is Health Canada-approved against the coronavirus, and it comes in concentrated form with a recommended dilution rate of between 64mls and 100mls per 900mls of water.
This means that a spray of VELOSAN dilution at a 6.5% concentration, once given the necessary 10-minute contact time, can be highly effective in disinfecting all hard, non-porous surfaces against the coronavirus.
What is more, when being used as a virucide only, seeking just to kill the coronavirus, the necessary contact time required drops dramatically to one minute.
2. High-Touch Surfaces
High-touch surfaces in a public setting are similar to those in any location. They include doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, counters, handrails, touch screen surfaces, and keypads.
These high-touch surfaces are surfaces frequently in direct contact with hands, so it is recommended that they are cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty.
Using an effective disinfecting spray is ideally suited to the task, though adequate contact time must be given to ensure surfaces are actually disinfected. VELOSAN (once diluted to a 6.5% concentration) is highly effective when sprayed onto surfaces, allowed 10 minutes contact time, then wiped away or let to dry. Once again, just one minute contact time is needed to kill COVID-19.
As Health Canada-approved virucidal wipes, STERIWIPES (DIN# 02500787) are also an effective option. A quick wipe will clean or sanitize the high-touch surface, but to disinfect the surface needs to remain visibly wet for 10 minutes. The surfaces can then be allowed to dry, or wiped with a wet cloth.
3. Personal Sanitation
Lastly, the personal efforts made by individuals to prevent contamination are critical. This is where people take the step to disinfect their own hands, therefore helping to reduce the chance of contaminating the surfaces that they touch.
Washing your hands with warm water and soap is already widely confirmed as effective in killing COVID19, but in practical terms, it is limited to restrooms and sink areas. However, hand sanitizers placed strategically in high traffic areas, where people can simply squirt disinfecting liquid on their hand and rub it on their skin, is a far more effective option.
FORTRESS (NPN# 80100716) is a liquid alcohol hand sanitizer from Velocity Chemicals that kills germs on contact, making it ideal for preventing the spread of the coronavirus when soap and water are not available. It contains 62% alcohol, as is recommended to effectively kill pathogens or germs.