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CDC Updates Guidelines For Cleaning and Disinfecting a Facility

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, facility owners have relied on the CDC for additional guidance on how they can best protect their business, employees, and customers. As the virus is analyzed and the ways that it spreads are studied, that guidance has been regularly updated to ensure it abides by the latest scientific findings.

The latest updates to guidance on cleaning and disinfection of facilities as it relates to COVID-19 were released recently, and provide additional information that helps businesses know how to best protect their business.

What Are the New CDC Guidelines for Facilities?

CDC guidance updates for facilities include:

  • In most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low.
  • Cleaning with products containing soap or detergent helps reduce germs on surfaces and may also weaken or damage some of the virus particles, which decreases risk of infection from surfaces.
  • Cleaning a space once a day is enough when no people are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19. Using EPA-approved List N disinfectants will help kill any remaining germs in the space, reducing the likelihood of spread.
  • Disinfection is only recommended in indoor settings, schools, and homes where a suspected COVID-19 case has occurred in the last 24 hours.
  • If there has been a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in your facility within the last 24 hours, you should clean AND disinfect the space.

The updates to the guidance focus on cleaning and disinfecting needs for businesses that are not healthcare facilities or other facilities which have specific regulations that instruct how cleaning and disinfection must take place, such as manufacturing plants.

How Will the New CDC Guidelines Affect My Cleaning Needs?

While disinfection may appear to be less necessary, consistent cleaning remains critical. The risk of transmission for COVID-19 through surfaces remains a possibility if someone touches an infected area and touches their nose, mouth, or eyes. Knowing if a surface has droplets containing COVID-19 is difficult, and a missed spot while wiping down surfaces could lead to an outbreak.

Cleaning and disinfection continue to be recommended for schools and indoor settings that have had a recent COVID-19 case. Due to ongoing studies testing out the efficacy of the vaccines on people ages 16 and under and the troubling spread of variant B.1.1.7 by this demographic, the needs of janitorial services will remain top of mind for many educational facilities across the United States throughout 2021 and possibly beyond.

However, while the CDC guidelines relax the cleaning requirements for some industries, the guidance to regularly clean and disinfect against COVID-19 remains unchanged for healthcare facilities. Ensuring that high-touch areas are properly disinfected remains a top priority for those who treat patients who may be at increased risk.

In addition, the updated guidance is specific to COVID-19, and does not address other dangerous pathogens, including MRSA that can cause other dangerous health issues to certain demographics. Simply cleaning and disinfecting for one virus is not enough.

The Importance of Daily Cleaning

Daily cleaning and disinfection remain top of mind for a variety of industries. The potential spread of pathogens across highly trafficked facilities will continue to be important as vaccines are slowly rolled out to those who wish to get it. Ensuring that your facility uses janitorial cleaning services backed by a team of cleaning experts who know your industry is key.

Daily cleaning and disinfection also provide peace of mind knowing that you have taken the appropriate steps needed to protect your facility, employees, and customers from the possible spread of dangerous pathogens apart from COVID-19. The pandemic has shed light on the importance of regular cleaning for facilities, and the heightened need for proper disinfection for the past year will raise the bar for customer’s expectations going forward.

Ongoing cleaning and disinfection services will remain a crucial part for all businesses as we continue to learn more about COVID-19 and other pathogens that may arise in the future.

Guidance for Developing a Customized Plan

The CDC provides additional details that can be of use for those who wish to customize their cleaning plan. These include:

  • Determine what needs to be cleaned: High-touch areas and surfaces will need to be cleaned at least once a day, even more for highly trafficked facilities or those who are occupied by young children who may not adequately wear masks or cover their sneezes or coughs.
  • Consider the resources needed: Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) is key, such as gloves and gowns. Having the available cleaning products and manpower are also important, since each industry will have different cleaning needs.
  • Know the difference between cleaning and disinfecting: Simply spritzing some disinfectant on a surface and wiping away with a paper towel is not enough for many businesses. Having the proper techniques and products will ensure your facility is properly disinfected.
  • Clean high-touch areas: Pens, counters, doorknobs, light switches, handles, elevator buttons, desks, faucets, sinks, and other areas need to be properly cleaned and disinfected at least once a day.
  • Rely on a cleaning and disinfection expert: Ensuring that you and your team follow the latest CDC guidelines drains resources that would otherwise be used in other areas of your business. Trust your commercial cleaning needs to a team of experts, like ServiceMaster Clean, who use proprietary cleaning systems and technology, while offering customizable cleaning plans for your specific business.

Reach out to your nearest ServiceMaster Clean location today and see how we can help your facility.

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