When is it Safe to Go Back to the Office?
If the office has been completely shut down with no access to anyone during the quarantine period, the routes of fomites or surface transmission for COVID-19 becomes less of a risk.
What is the COVID-19 Virus?
All indoor environments become contaminated by millions of microbes – everyday small microscopic organisms. Flat surfaces accumulate different types of microbes such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, and protists. Through touch, flat surface microbes are transferred to other things like doorknobs or frequent points of contact. Microbes are deposited in the built indoor environment by sneezing, drooling, coughing, spitting, defecating, or body fluid release. Decomposing tissue, food, plants, or organics contribute to microbe accumulation bio-load.
Not all microbes are bad, some are needed to carry on life such as digestion or cellular activity. Today, everyone is worried about viruses and unlike some other types of microbes, viruses need a host to survive. So, a virus must have another cell structure to stay alive.
The COVID-19 Coronavirus will die if left exposed on a surface too long. Different types of surfaces let the virus live longer than others – hard, smooth, and some plastics, let the virus live longer. Temperature and moisture affect viral longevity. The COVID-19 Coronavirus is not resistant to disinfectants. Regular thorough cleaning with detergent to decrease soils and organics on the built environment surfaces will let your second application of disinfectant kill the virus.
Presto, the Office is Now Disinfected!
What will pose the problem is the new virion distribution to your recently cleaned indoor environment following successful disinfection. We now know that someone may redistribute fresh living droplets by sneezing or coughing on your recently cleaned desk or counter. Someone may enter your workplace with no symptoms whatsoever and re-contaminate your clean surfaces.
Health officials are working on flattening the curve, not eradicating the virus. Life, however, will at some stage return to an increase in social interaction. More businesses will one day open and it is this short-term future where business operations will have to change.
An increase in indoor air dilution or air exchange operation will be necessary followed by more frequent deep cleaning, and fomite disinfection cleaning will become the new norm in building maintenance. Daily high touch transmission surface cleaning will now become routine.
Maintenance staff training, due diligence, and testing will require new standards and documentation to stop the transmission at the most frequent point of contact. Once social distancing measures have been relaxed, businesses will rush to open. The general public will need assurances that the business environment is well disinfected. Posting updated disinfection schedules will let your staff and customers know the indoor environment is safe.
To inquire about post-isolation disinfection cleaning, please contact Indoor Air Quality Ottawa today.