• Carl Reese

An employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19, now what?

You have a small business and an employee has notified you they are being treated for COVID-19, receiving medical care and are in recovery. You are probably wondering, “What do I do next? How do I keep my remaining staff safe?” We outlined some steps to help get you started.

Hopefully you have developed the required California CalOSHA and the California Department of Heath “Site specific written COVID-19 Plan” for your business. Guidance from these agencies for reopening your Santa Clarita business can be found on our website. If you need help writing your CalOSHA Site specific plan contact us we can help you write it.

The best plan is to contact a certified Enviromental decontamination company with Hazwoper certifications. Remember, you are putting you or others in harms way when they enter a COVID contaminated area. This is not the time to “learn” from YouTube” or hire your plumber or carpet cleaner to spread it around. There are several things you should ask when hiring a firm. We have outlined 5 questions to ask when hiring a service to disinfect your business or home in Santa Clarita Valley. You can read these tip on how to avoid pitfalls and find a reputable company here.

Guidances from CalOSHA, CDC, California Board of Health is telling us that touch point is not the primary vector for infection from Coronavirus. The primary vector is airborne droplets. No mater how many times you wipe a surface down you will not eradicate the droplets deposited in the air by talking, coughing or sneezing. To do this you need specialize equipment.

Currently in Santa Clarita there is one firm using medical approved equipment for disinfecting businesses and homes. The Halo system has been reserve for hospitals and research firms for over a decade. The system has been approved by the EPA and verified by the CDC. CR Environmental L.L.C. of Santa Clarita is the first to offer this decontamination service to residents and business owners. The Halo does not leave any residue and is environmentally safe.

We can’t recommend that you decontaminate workspaces on your own. You’re far better off hiring someone qualified an has 20+ years experience. If you insist on trying to tackle it on your own or worse asking an employee to do it here are some tips from the CDC below:

General recommendations:

  • Contact a qualified & experienced decontamination company. The health and safety of your staff and family are paramount. The cost of hiring a professional decontamination team will likely be less expensive than sustaining company down-time, additional incurred healthcare expenses, or potential lawsuits resulting from inaction, denial, or faulty actions.

  • Review decontamination options. (1) Dry mists tend to be priced higher than lesser options, but are highly effective and decontaminate both the air and all infected surfaces within the targeted area. This is the most effective method for hire since dry mists reach areas that traditional cleaning methods will miss. Dry mists are also safe for electronics, computers and soft surfaces such as material, cardboard and paper. CRE utilizes a hydrogen peroxide based solution that leaves no residue or odor. (2) Handheld Foggers are an economic solution, but address only the specific areas and items within the zone where the fogger is pointed. It is a moist fog sprayed over the areas assumed to be contaminated. It can be effective with some limitations. Foggers cannot be used on paper and soft natural materials. Foggers are ideal for non-electric areas and for decontaminating equipment and tools. (3) A third method of decontaminating is to have your cleaning service follow CDC Guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfecting work environments.

  • If possible wait 24 hours before decontaminating the affected and surrounding work area(s).

  • Effective disinfection requires not only the right products, but also the right processes and practices. Studies indicate that traditional cleaning and disinfection methods are frequently suboptimal. Manual touch-point cleaning is much more effective when used in conjunction with Dry Misting or Fogging. Cleaning services should be using CDC recommended methods with EPA (Environmental Protective Agency) approved disinfectants. Not all cleaners kill COVID-19. Ask your cleaning professional if they are certified and using the appropriate disinfectants and techniques for the job.

  • Don the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), and close off the immediate workspace/area/station used by the sick individual. CalOSHa requires fitment training and testing with any PPE gear. Hazwoper training is required when working in dangerous environments. Do not touch anything. Do not start cleaning. Limit time exposure in the area. Do not panic.

  • .According to CDC findings, COVID-19 can be airborne for up to 4 hours. Reports have said virus can be viable for up to seventeen (17) days; however the latest research has shown it varies. See the latest chart on our FAQ page

  • In selecting the appropriate remedy, remember to address all items and areas the sick individual may have come in contact with. Pay special attention to computers, keyboards, mice, touch screens, remote controls, tables, doorknobs, faucets, and any other tools or equipment that might have been used by the sick individual recently during a work shift.

  • For more site specific information on how to decontaminate a work space contact us at 661-317-2275 or visit our website at www.covidsterilization.com. The above guidelines were tips from the CDC Guidance for Re Opening Businesses on their website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html.

  • CR Environmental has over 26 years’ combined experience in building risk management, indoor air quality inspection/testing, and airborne decontamination. We can help. Find more information and resources on our website at www.covidsterilization.com or call us at 661-877-1499 to start helping you in the recovery process.

Note this is NOT an exhaustive list and is only intended as a general guideline. CR Environmental encourages seeking more information at the CDC and OSHA websites or contacting us at www.covidsterilization.com.