Corona Virus Surface Disinfection and Verification Testing is Now Available
COVID-19 testing is now available to accurately detect whether the virus is present on a surface. Previously, Guzi-West didn’t recommend surface testing for the presence/absence of Coronavirus, such as COVID-19. The technology wasn’t in place to truly detect the presence/absence of the virus and the presence or absence of bacteria was utilized as a surrogate (i.e. if there is no bacteria present, then presumably Coronavirus isn’t either) – that writeup can be found here. We still feel utilizing surrogates alone to ‘demonstrate’ the presence or absence of COVID-19 is a flawed approach. It should be noted that according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the primary spread of COVID-19 is not thought to be through touching surfaces where the virus is present, but rather through respiratory droplets spread in close contact (less than 6 feet); see information here. Surface testing for COVID-19 may or may not be a useful management technique for a given facility. This information is meant to serve as an unbiased summary of what our firm currently understands for the availability of surface testing for COVID-19. New information is being published daily regarding transmission, testing and we’ll continue to review, gather, and summarize the information moving forward.
Analytical Process: the presence or absence of the viral genetic material on environmental surfaces are now being analyzed by several laboratories for SARS-Covid-19 using a process referred to as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genetic testing for COVID-19 regarding disinfection. Positive results indicate the presence of the viral genetic material SARS-CoV-2 nucleic material. The results are reported as detect or non-detectable. It should be noted that PCR testing can’t differentiate between active and inactive virus particles. Having the ability to verify disinfection will help employers deter viral spread and provide a safer workplace. For example, if an office kitchen that had no coronavirus traces last week suddenly shows positive results, someone who is using the kitchen may be infected. This information can be informative in determining if further disinfection is warranted.
Sampling Methodology/Plan: GuziWest has developed a surface testing swab sampling methodology and protocol for COVID-19 Inspection/Testing based upon information published by the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO). In conjunction with a CA-certified laboratory performing Covid-19 PCR testing, we’re able to offer rapid information on the safety of your working surfaces and the potential presence of COVID-19 virus within your office or production facility.
A sampling plan would generally consist of the following:
- Swab sampling would focus on environmental surfaces such as door handles, sinks and faucets, electronics (touch screens and controls), furniture and other fixed items, such as counter tops, stairway rails, floors and walls.
- Pass/Fail issued approximately 72 hours after testing (samples will be overnighted to an analytical laboratory who can process the samples on a 48-hour turnaround time)
- Less than 30 employees: 5-10 samples
- 30-100 employees: 10-20 samples
- 100-500 employees: 25-50 samples
- 500 employees: TBD/case by case
- Reinspection would occur within 2-3 weeks for poor performing/failing facilities
Safe and clean work environments are crucial in the best of times, and maintaining a clean environment will be an integral part COVID-19 prevention as businesses and offices begin to reopen. In the fight to protect the health of workers and the general public, frequent validation and verification of cleaning protocols is necessary. High-touch surfaces on production and packing lines, on shared equipment, and in shared work areas can all spread infection if they’re not sanitized thoroughly and often. Regular household cleaners are effective, including bleach solutions and alcohol solutions of at least 70% alcohol. The EPA provides a list of disinfectants effective against COVID-19-here.
If we can be of assistance in dealing with cleaning and disinfecting processes for your facility and COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to contact the Guzi-West team.
Some useful links regarding COVID-19: