Clean Hospitals Coronavirus Update
As expected, we have been getting a lot of questions about the SARS-CoV-2. Regarding what we can do to prevent transmission, the most important message is to keep the focus on infection prevention- especially hand hygiene and environmental hygiene.
Coronaviruses in general (which include the viruses that cause the common cold) are enveloped viruses, and quickly inactivated by alcohol-based handrubs, as well as by a number of disinfectants used in the healthcare environment. Viruses from the same family can stay active on surfaces for up to 9 days. Sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide, and alcohol all work well, while benzalkonium chloride and chlorhexidine seem to have a more limited effect.
The short answer, is that you should follow the recommendations for other enveloped viruses. As it is mostly just spread through droplets and using surgical masks is fine in most situations, unless while performing aerosol-generating care procedures. The most complex personal protective equipment and the most hi-tech masks will not be of use if hands are not cleaned and surfaces are not decontaminated. The issue with implementing more advanced contact precautions is that every extra step added is another opportunity for error.
Practicing respiratory hygiene (coughing and sneezing into one’s elbow or wearing a surgical mask if symptomatic) and hand hygiene when touching any body fluids (such as traces of mucus from coughing), potentially contaminated surfaces or people that are showing symptoms. It is also important to practice social distancing, which means keeping, at minimum, a 1 meter distance from people that are showing respiratory symptoms.
Some useful links
- Hand Hygiene Recommendations
WHO 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene tools and posters : click here
WHO Hand Hygiene Guidelines : click here
- What agents for surface disinfection work well on other coronaviruses
Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and its inactivation with biocidal agents : article here.
Potential role of inanimate surfaces for the spread of coronaviruses and their inactivation with disinfectant agents : article here.
- General Recommendations
WHO recommendations for the public: click here
ECDC Factsheet for health professionals on Coronaviruses : click here
WHO Novel Coronavirus Situation Report 28 (17th of Feb) : click here
ECDC Interim guidance for environmental cleaning in non-healthcare facilities : click here