COVID19 and Cleaning - Basic Info

There has been a lot of discussion around cleaning procedures relating to COVID19. This has become especially tense as the panicked hoarding of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes has created a worldwide shortage of these products for those of you who require them in your day-to-day work. PABC does not have access to information about the availability of these products. If your clinic uses a medical supply company for your products, contact them regarding stock. If you rely on drug stores for these products (or big-box chains) you will likely have difficulty obtaining supplies. 

WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care: First Global Patient Safety Challenge Clean Care Is Safer Care.

There are instructions below about recommended cleaning procedures. At present, I cannot find any reliable information relating to DIY hand sanitizer other than it is not effective. At this time, the information being provided is that handwashing with soap and water is most effective. Should you need them, here are some posters you can place around your clinic:

Public practice physios - your facility should be ensuring you have access to the cleaning supplies and PPE that they expect you to use. If you are not being provided with appropriate supplies, please contact your union and PABC. 

World Health Organization:

How long does the virus live on surfaces:

It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

Check out this WHO Mythbusters site debunking some infection control myths:

"We have also not approved any disinfectant products with claims specific to COVID-19. However, authorized disinfectant products can make a claim of broad spectrum of activity against viruses if they meet specific evidence standards. We are working with companies and we will publish a list of disinfectant products that can make this claim to help Canadians make effective choices."

So how do I clean?

The Public Health Agency of Canada has provided the following cleaning advice for caregivers of COVID19 patients being monitored at home, some of which can be adapted for clinics as a preventative measure:

  • At least once daily, use household disinfectants or diluted bleach (1 part bleach and 9 parts water) to clean and disinfect surfaces that people touch often (e.g., toilets, laundry containers, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones and television remotes). [PABC edit - patient care surfaces should be cleaned after each patient].
  • Clean touch screens with 70% alcohol wipes.
  • Clean your hands (with soap and water) often for at least 20 seconds, especially after contact with the ill person and after removing gloves, masks and eye protection.
  • Dry your hands with disposable paper towels. If not available, use a reusable towel and replace it when it becomes wet.
  • You can also remove dirt with a wet wipe and then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Other resources:

Australian Governments recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting: