COVID-19 RLNC #8
Reopening guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes - we are all in this together!
As you may have heard in the news, the country and individual states are implementing plans to reopen for business. This is a slow reopening process. Florida is starting a partial reopening of public places this week. This process requires that we continue to follow social distancing behaviors and daily habits to reduce exposure and potential spread of the virus. Public health strategies which include increased testing of people for the virus, social distancing and isolation when needed, and keeping track of how someone infected may infect others are necessary for success in reopening.
Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfecting is an important part of the process of reopening public places. We all have a role in making sure our communities are safe and can remain open.
General reminders about coronaviruses and reducing risk of exposure
On surfaces and objects, coronavirus naturally dies within hours to days.
Normal routine cleaning with soap and water removes germs and dirt from surfaces and lowers risk of spreading COVID-19 infection.
Disinfectants kill germs on surfaces which lowers the risk of spreading infection.
Store and use disinfectants properly, according to the label directions.
Do not overuse or stockpile supplies.
Always wear gloves and appropriate protective equipment for the chemicals being used.
Most important, cleaning and disinfecting public spaces including workplaces, schools, homes and other businesses requires the development, implementation and maintenance of a plan.
Develop a Plan
Developing a plan includes evaluating the area for what kinds of surfaces and materials make up the area. Frequently touched surfaces and objects like light switches and door knobs will need both regular washing with soap and water but also disinfectant to decrease risk on those surfaces. Also, consider what items can be moved to reduce frequent handling of multiple people. Soft and porous material wherever possible, should be removed due to challenges cleaning and disinfecting.
Determine what needs to be cleaned:
Is the area outdoors?
Most outdoor areas generally require normal routine cleaning and do not require disinfection. The targeted use of disinfectants can be done safely. There is no evidence the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread directly to humans from water in pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection of these areas should kill the virus. For more information on visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities per the CDC guidelines:
Has the area been unoccupied for the last 7 days?
If the workplace, school or business has been unoccupied for 7 days or more, it will only need normal routine cleaning to reopen the area. There are other public health considerations for public places that have been closed for extended periods such as ventilation system considerations that should be taken into account in the individual plan.
Determine what needs to be disinfected using a product from the EPA’s list of approved products effective against Covid-19: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
Non-porous material or item like glass, metal or plastic:
Use an EPA approved disinfectant from the list, link above. Examples of frequently touched items that need routine disinfection following reopening:
- light switches
- faucets and sinks
- gas pump handles
- touch screens
- ATM machines
Each business or facility will have to evaluate those items frequently touched by multiple people. They will have to disinfect these areas. You should be aware of these areas and items so that you can be proactive and stay safe.
Soft porous material like carpet, rugs or seating:
These items are not as easy to disinfect as hard non porous materials. Soft and porous materials that are not frequently touched should only be cleaned and laundered according to the label. Removing these items if possible is also a good safe practice.
Make sure that you have the appropriate personal protection equipment when working with disinfecting products. Follow the directions on the product for any special needs.
Implement Your Plan
Once you have a plan, all the information on the items and the products necessary to clean them, begin the process of cleaning.
Clean visibly dirty surfaces with soap and water.
Use the appropriate cleaning and disinfectant product.
Always follow the directions on the label.
Maintain and revise the plan daily and as needed
Continue routine cleaning and disinfecting. Make sure you have enough of the necessary products. Adjust based on the level of use of items.
Maintain safe behavioral practices: social distancing, frequent handwashing, cloth face coverings, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, stay home when sick, clean and disinfect frequently touched items.
Consider practices that reduce the potential for exposure. Always consider not only yourself but also the safety of others in how we use public places. Make long-term changes and procedures to decrease places and objects touched by multiple people.
While many of us are ready to resume “normal” life, it is essential that we each do our part to stay safe as we do so.
OSHA has also published a detailed guide which is full of both general and specific information in pdf form entitled Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf
We are Susan Ramsey and Amie Goldberg, both practicing attorneys and nurses here at the Romano Law Group. Here is a little more about each of us:
Susan Ramsey is both an attorney and an RN. Ms. Ramsey’s professional experience began as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree, she was a counselor with the New Haven Rape Crisis Program. During her time with the Program, Ms. Ramsey counseled sexual assault survivors and performed seminars for local police departments, universities, and high schools. During her time working as a registered nurse, Ms. Ramsey decided to attend law school. Ms. Ramsey graduated from CUNY Law School, and has practiced law in several different State and Federal Courts. She is a Florida Heath Care Risk Manager and a member of the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force. Ms. Ramsey actively litigates cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death on behalf of survivors, cases include injuries suffered by victims of professional negligence, product liability and medical negligence.
Amie Goldberg is both an attorney and a certified APRN. After completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Whittier College, Ms. Goldberg attended nursing school at Emory University. Ms. Goldberg’s professional experience started as a Registered Nurse at Egleston Children’s Hospital taking care of children with congenital heart disease. After a few years, she continued working in all areas of the hospital while attending Kennesaw State University on weekends in order to get her Master’s Degree in Nursing with a specialty of Primary Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner. During her time as an APRN, Ms. Goldberg decided to attend law school at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. Since graduating, she has mainly practiced in the areas of personal injury and worker’s compensation, fighting for the rights of injured people. Since joining the Romano Law Group, Ms. Goldberg has been the Director of the Opioid Litigation Project. Ms. Goldberg also practices in the area of
medical malpractice and nursing home negligence, bringing an inside perspective and knowledge to help get justice for our clients.