Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting business and government operations across the US and abroad, and entities in both the public and the private sector are seeking solutions to mitigate the risk of exposure to this pathogen for their employees and visitors.
Development and implementation of appropriate health and safety plans can help to defend against the transmission of not just COVID19, but also a host of other viral and bacterial pathogens. Transmission of coronavirus in general occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites.
Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings.
What is the Official Name of the Virus?
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practice for naming of new human infectious diseases.
On February 11, 2020, the WHO announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.
How Does the Virus Spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.
How long someone is actively sick can vary so the decision on when to release someone from isolation is made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with doctors, infection prevention and control experts, and public health officials and involves considering specifics of each situation including disease severity, illness signs and symptoms, and results of laboratory testing for that patient.
Current CDC guidance for when it is OK to release someone from isolation is made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements:
• The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. • The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough. • The patient has tested negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.
Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.
Useful Tips for Industrial Hygienists Services
If you plan on using an industrial hygienists dealing with pathogenic threats to assist your business’ goal of minimizing the risk of exposure and interruption to business operations, some of their essential services are:
• Site-Specific Deep Cleaning Protocols • Updated Health and Safety Plans • Emergency Response Plans
All plans and protocols should be developed in accordance with protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). To learn more about specific information from these health agencies and their experts, follow the links below:
Resources About Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Best Practices
Live Science (Video) - The Effect of Coronavirus Is So Extreme You Can See It From Space:
CDC - Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers - Plan, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019:
CDC - Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations:
IFMA - Coronavirus Preparedness Resource Center: