According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus. As a new virus, they can only learn as it progresses, and from the patterns of similar viruses in the past, such as similar coronaviruses like SARS and MERS. The CDC explains that what all these viruses have in common is the fact that they are spread from person to person, most frequently among close contacts, and that this type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets. “Current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials,” states the CDC, “Cleaning of visible dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.”
The CDC explains that cleaning alone does not kill germs. Disinfection by EPA-registered disinfectants are necessary to remove and kill germs from surfaces to reduce the risk of spreading infection. For the full list of approved EPA-registered disinfectants, visit, https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2. When using these products always read the labels for instructions of use. Be aware of proper ventilation and gloves when using strong chemicals. The CDC also recommends diluted household bleach (5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water) left on the surface for at least one minute. They also caution to never mix bleach with ammonia. Alcohol solutions of at least 70% alcohol are also recommended to kill the coronaviruses on surfaces.
To prevent the spread of the virus during this crisis, everyone must always do their part in cleaning and disinfecting their surroundings and take extra precautions if someone is ill. The CDC suggests that the public maintain the following guidelines to limit the spread of the virus:
- Wear clean disposable gloves each time you clean and disinfect. Discard gloves immediately after each use and clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
- Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces such as “tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.”
- For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs and drapes, clean those surfaces with soap and water and other cleaners when appropriate and launder items using the warmest water setting possible and disinfect with approved disinfectants.
- Follow manufacturers’ instructions for cleaning and disinfecting electronics such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls or place wipeable covers on them. If no manufacturers’ instructions, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays of at least 70% and dry surface thoroughly.
- Wear disposable gloves when doing the laundry. Do not shake dirty laundry. Use the warmest water setting possible. Wash sick people’s clothing separately. Clean and disinfect clothes hampers between use.
To speak with a healthcare provider to assess any non-emergency health concerns, including suspected COVID-19 symptoms, please call (305)751-1500 for our Miami-Dade clinic or (954)289-0000 for our Broward clinic. For life-threatening emergencies, always call 911. For coronavirus updates and resources, please visit our website at www.primarymed.com.