What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can cause serious symptoms, even death.
In late 2019, public health officials identified a new or “novel” coronavirus not previously seen. Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and some can cause mild to moderate illness.
In March 2020, the World health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. For the most up-to-date information about the spread of this disease in your region please refer to the WHO or your local public health agency.
What can I do to help combat COVID-19?
Take Action: Focus on standard infection control practices, training and compliance.
Ecolab experts in public health and infection prevention provide guidance to customers facing challenges from COVID-19 in their business.
Senior Manager Clinical Affairs
Linda Homan is a board certified infection prevention specialist with over 20 years of experience. Linda is responsible for the development of clinical and educational solutions, applied clinical research and incorporation of clinical best practices in all healthcare offerings.
Q. How can healthcare employees protect themselves in their work environment?
A. CDC currently recommends a cautious approach to patients under investigation for COVID-19. The EPA and the CDC recognize environmental surfaces as a vector for transmission of coronaviruses:
Healthcare professionals should perform hand hygiene before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and upon removal of PPE, including gloves.
Healthcare facilities should ensure that hand hygiene supplies are readily available in every care location.
The CDC states that facilities must ensure healthcare professionals receive job or task-specific education and training on transmission of infectious agents, including refresher training.
Contact your Ecolab team to discuss training opportunities.
Q. If a known sick person stayed in a hospital room how should it be cleaned?
A. Routine cleaning and disinfection are appropriate for COVID-19 in healthcare settings, including those patient-care areas in which aerosol-generating procedures are performed. Use a disinfectant with an EPA emerging viral pathogen claim. Clean equipment according to manufacturer’s instructions. The CDC states that facilities must ensure that healthcare professionals receive job or task-specific education and training on transmission of infectious agents, including refresher training.
Food Safety and Quality Program Leader, Global Food & Beverage
Dr. Tatiana Lorca is Ecolab's RD&E Food Safety & Quality Program Leader for the Global Food & Beverage division. Dr. Lorca works regularly with customers operating food and beverage processing plants on issues related to food safety and audit compliance.
Q. Is there any evidence of transmission of the new coronavirus through foods such as meat? Or food originating in China?
A. Public health officials do not believe that consuming food, especially meats, represent a way that coronaviruses are being transmitted. Of course, to ensure food safety, proper cooking of raw meats is important, we recommend vigilance about standard food safety practices like temperature control, proper cooking, avoiding cross-contamination, etc.
Q. What can I do in my food and beverage processing plant to protect my employees and customers?
A. Firstly we need to recognize COVID-19 poses more of a public health than food safety risk. A key priority is reducing the likelihood of infection amongst your employees. Ensure personnel understand how to properly protect themselves and each other. Ensure personnel health and hygiene practices are implemented. Ensure you maintain a clean and sanitary production environment by following good manufacturing practices every day from start to finish. Ensure food contact and non-food contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized.
Senior Corporate Scientist, Food Safety and Public Health
Dr. Petran provides technical expertise and consultation to internal and external customers on food safety and public health issues, by identifying and tracking emerging food safety trends and new control strategies.
Q. I need to increase my usage rate or dose of disinfectant or cleaner?
A. The use of specific disinfectants can be helpful in combatting COVID-19. All disinfectants and sanitizers should be used as directed on product label/instructions. This is however a great time to reinforce training and compliance to make sure surfaces and high-touch areas are being properly cleaned and employees are using infection prevention best-practices while at work.
Q. Does Ecolab have a product for use against coronavirus?
A. Yes, we offer specific disinfectants that have demonstrated effectiveness against viruses like the one causing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) when used as directed. We also offer guidance and training on proper cleaning procedures to help reduce COVID-19 risk. If you are a current customer, you should speak with your account executive for specific information. If you are not a current customer, please visit Ecolab.com to contact us via email or phone.
Q. How long will coronaviruses survive on surfaces?
A. The short answer is we don’t know yet. This is a new virus and studies are just beginning. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that transmission of COVID-19 is not that likely to occur from an infected surface. Practically, the risk will be much lower from surfaces than from a direct droplet traveling through the air from an infected person. As in any potential outbreak situation, proper infection prevention with disinfectant for surfaces and high-touch surfaces is recommended.
Q. How can hospitality employees protect themselves in their work environment?
A. Employees in a hotel or hospitality environment should follow standard infection prevention techniques – things like, washing their hands frequently, staying home when they’re sick, using approved disinfectants with an EPA emerging viral pathogen claim following the specified procedures.
Q: Since testing is not possible using COVID-19, how do you determine what kinds of chemical disinfectants can be used against COVID-19?
A: For emerging or novel viruses like COVID-19, companies are unable to acquire the outbreak strain of virus to test the efficacy of their disinfectant products. Certain countries have policies or general claims that address this (e.g. US EPA Emerging Viral Pathogen Guidance*, EU viral claims) by utilizing a hierarchy of susceptibility of viruses to disinfectants. In general, these policies are based on the ability of a product to kill a ‘harder to kill’ virus and may or may not require preapproval for use in outbreak situations. Care must be taken to use the appropriate dilution at the correct contact time for the suitable application listed on the product label to enable disinfection against SARS-CoV-2. If you are a current customer, you should speak with your account executive for specific information. If you are not a current customer, please visit Ecolab.com to contact us via email or phone.
*In the US a product must be preapproved by US EPA. It must be a hospital disinfectant and carry approved Emerging Viral Pathogen language on the master label.
RD&E Program Lead, Institutional
Ed Snodgrass is a chemical engineer with more than 15 years of experience in new product development and efficacy for the hospitality, long term care and food service industries.
Q. What should I do about linens, bedding and other textiles?
A. There currently isn’t evidence that respiratory viruses like COVID-19 are spread through textiles, linens or bedding. Because droplets may carry disease, proper infection prevention protocol for changing and cleaning linens and bedding is recommended.
Hotel and hospital employees should always wear proper personal protective equipment when handling soiled linen. If a resident or patient is infected with COVID-19 take these steps:
Contact your Ecolab representative for information about proper protocol and disinfectant laundry products.
Q. Spa, Jacuzzi advice?
A. People who are infectious should not be using these areas. High-touchpoint surfaces should be disinfected regularly. Follow standard procedures for maintaining your pool, spa or jacuzzi facilities. There is currently, no evidence of transmission through this route.
Senior Program Leader, Textile Care Division, R&D Center
In this role, she is responsible for managing the Commercial Laundry Product Development Team and Technical Service Team for North America R&D. Angela has worked for Ecolab for 22 years in a variety of positions, and she has worked within the commercial laundry market for six years, providing technical support, research, and knowledge sharing to all of Textile Care’s customers. She is especially passionate about proper laundering and processing of healthcare linen and is an advocate for the importance of managing your healthcare linens throughout the entire linen flow cycle.
Q. What infection prevention methods should I follow in a Commercial Healthcare Laundry facility?
A. All linens in a Commercial Healthcare Laundry plant should be treated as if they are contaminated and universal handling precautions need to be followed.
Q. What is the CDC or WHO guidance for processing potentially contaminated linens?
A. Today, the CDC provides the following guidance for COVID-19 potentially contaminated linens: