Headlines from major news outlets reflect the rising numbers of diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus, dubbed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) by the World Health Organization (WHO). Because this is a novel (new) coronavirus, most health agencies are working furiously to better understand its spread. Scientists have determined that the virus is transmitted primarily through close contact via droplets from sneezing and coughing, though the virus can likely survive and remain infectious from 2 hours up to 9 days on a variety of surfaces.
Facilities with a detailed and proactive infection prevention strategy are the best prepared to limit risks associated with COVID-19, influenza, and other infectious microorganisms when they—inevitably—pass through their doors.
Enforce hand hygiene protocols
Hand hygiene is a pillar of infection prevention programs. Despite this awareness, the CDC notes that, on average, healthcare providers clean their hands less than half of the times they should. As with so many other infections, hand hygiene is the top recommendation for preventing the spread of COVID-19. When using soap and water, wash for at least 20 seconds, making sure to scrub all areas of your hands.
If hands are not visibly soiled, healthcare workers often use alcohol-based hand sanitizer because it is quick and is effective at killing potentially deadly germs. When you cough or sneeze cover your mouth with your elbow or a disposable tissue. Follow with hand hygiene.
Ensure effective environmental cleaning
For past coronaviruses like SARS and MERS, a recent literature review shows that ethanol-based disinfectants can significantly reduce coronavirus infectivity on surfaces with a one-minute exposure. It is important to note that not all disinfectants work on this type of virus. That is why Case Medical recommends thorough cleaning of environmental surfaces followed by disinfection with alcohol or other recommended disinfectants to help reduce the risk of horizontal transmission among patients, staff, and visitors.
The CDC recommends daily preventive actions at home to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including cleaning of all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables each and every day. In healthcare facilities, one should consider the importance of more frequent cleaning. Case Solutions® Penta Wipes and Alcohol Wipes help you align with best practices for cleaning and decontamination by providing a convenient wherever it’s needed. Resealable 120-wipe containers can be staged in multiple locations for improved staff compliance.
It takes a team
Infection prevention efforts depend on the joint efforts of a community of people, including those in Infection Prevention, Environmental Services, and throughout the entire facility. Public education programs can include signage and visitor stickers emphasizing everyone’s role in the health and wellness of patients. Does your facility have a unique approach to improving compliance? Share it below or on social media. We would love to hear from you!