GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — FOX8 viewers have been calling and emailing in, asking what happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19 at work? How are employers able to protect others in the workplace?
Guilford County Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann told FOX8 because the virus can live on surfaces, disinfecting is important to help prevent the spread.
She also said under the health department’s guidance, many businesses are opting to contract out a cleaning service to make sure everything is deep cleaned and safe.
“[We ask] who’s exposed, where their location was in the facility, who they may have come in contact with in those facilities that have been exposed or have been potentially exposed,” says Steve Pippin, the president of Jan-Pro Commercial Cleaning.
That’s the first thing his team does: figure out a plan of attack.
Then they gear up in their PPE suits and gloves and get ready to rid a building of coronavirus.
Pippin says they’ve been getting quite a few calls asking for their help to sanitize workplaces.
“Some places will call and have us clean after an exposure. Sometimes we will see them call us back again and say, ‘hey, we have had a potential exposure again.’ Then we’ll just perform the same procedures,” Pippin said.
It’s up to employers to take those steps.
“We do not inspect businesses that needed cleaning after an employee or team member has been identified in that building,” Vann said.
She says the health department does not check up on anyone to see if a workplace has followed through with cleaning guidelines after an exposure.
“We would just assume they’re taking this very seriously and would do what they need to do,” Vann said.
That includes using CDC recommended cleaners and disinfectants.
Pippin showed FOX8 their supply of hospital grade chemicals and the machine they use to clean every nook and cranny.
“When you spray this fog, the mist is in the air, and it will literally stick to every piece, every item, every door sill,” Pippin said. “And in, under, and around every piece of equipment or even a simple coffee mug.”
Pippin says the important thing is to let the chemicals do their job.
“You really need those to sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes,” Pippin said. “It’s called dwell time. We want the chemical to be in contact with a potentially infected area.”
Both Vann and Pippin say if people want to clean their homes or their own work stations, people can use the strongest disinfectants and cleaners that can be bought over the counter.
Pippin says those store-bought cleaners will work if people wipe down the high touch areas, like keyboards and door knobs and give it “dwell time.”