How Training Protects from the Wuhan Coronavirus

Cleaning professionals can learn more about new virus in hands-on training

January 29, 2020

As of January 29, coronavirus (2019-nCOV) has infected more than 4,400 and killed at least 106 people in Wuhan, China, where it originated and where wearing face masks is mandatory in public places.

The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed five cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with the most recent cases in California and Arizona.

There is a concern that there will be shortages of personal protective equipment such as surgical masks and N95 respirators, worn by many professions and medical personnel who treat infected patients. There are also questions about how to properly clean and disinfect spaces where an ill individual may have been.

According to biorisk management professional, Patty Olinger, executive director of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, a division ISSA, everyone, including cleaning professionals, need to pay close attention to what is going on in the world regarding the Wuhan Coronavirus. “Right now, cleaning professionals and the general public need to remind themselves of proper practices for illnesses such as the flu, which should be equally protective with this novel virus,” Olinger says. “Wash your hands often, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands, cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, stay home if you feel ill, and keep you distance from those who are ill. 

“It is important that we revisit our existing processes and procedures as to when we need to wear a respirator and why. Then ask ourselves what are we going to do if they are not available? It is likely that we will see a shortage in masks, respirators as well as disposable gowns, as we saw during the Ebola outbreak in 2014-2015 and during the 2009 H1N1 (Swine Flu) pandemic.

We also need to revisit our processes and procedures for proper cleaning, sanitization and disinfection of surfaces and spaces.  This is critical.”

Cleaning professionals have a special opportunity to learn preventative, response, infection control, and contamination control measures to known or potential infectious disease outbreak situations at the ISSA-GBAC Bio-Remediation & Response Fundamentals Workshop, February 4-5 in Dallas. This class will have an emphasis on the Wuhan Coronavirus – 2019nCoV and provide answers to questions such as: When would it be proper for cleaning professionals to wear a surgical mask or respirator? What are proper procedures and techniques for cleaning spaces contaminated with an infectious agent such as the 2019-n Coronavirus? Registration information is available here.


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