In stating the obvious, the ultimate objective of a biohazard remediation service or biohazard cleaning company is to restore your home, business, rental property, or other location to a safe and fully usable condition. What may not be as obvious is that a reputable, experienced, skilled biohazard cleaning company must also maintain a sharp focus on best safety practices when involved in eliminating dangerous biomatter from your home, business, or other location. This dedication to following strident safety procedures is particularly crucial with the seemingly ubiquitous health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic or coronavirus pandemic.
Unique Challenges Faced by a Biohazard Cleanup Company During the Earlier Days of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Before diving into some of the more unique challenges that a biohazard cleanup company faces that the COVID-19 pandemic presents, a brief explanation of this derivation of the coronavirus and related information are necessary.
COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus, not “the” coronavirus. The fact is that there are a variety of different derivations of these viruses. Almost everyone experiences a coronavirus infection of some type during the course of their lifetime. More often than not, a person is infected with a coronavirus during childhood.
The majority of coronaviruses are not dangerous. They result in symptoms that are akin to the common cold or a rather mild flu. The same cannot be said of all types of coronaviruses. Indeed, in recent years, three strains of this virus have proven to be potentially dangerous and even deadly. These are:
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
COVID-19 was initially identified at the end of 2019. By March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, which means that it was a health crisis that encompasses the globe.
As a result of a failure to initiate testing promptly in the aftermath of the discovery of COVID-19 among people in the United States, data about the prevalence of this type of coronavirus infection has been spotty and confusing. A great deal of what is known about COVID-19 is anecdotal or reliant upon information gleaned from trends and experiences in other countries that were hit early by the virus.
Nevertheless, some specific data is confirmed about COVID-19:
- COVID-19 is highly contagious
- The virus can be contracted via airborne transmission if an infected person coughs or sneezes in the vicinity of another individual
- The virus is also capable of transmission via other types of person-to-person contact, like shaking hands
- COVID-19 has some capacity to survive for a period of time on surfaces and certain objects, permitting transmission via contact with these items
- Most people have mild symptoms when infected with COVID-19
- A small fraction of infected people experience severe symptoms, oftentimes requiring hospitalization
- Of those individuals hospitalized, a decent percentage will end up in an ICU and even on a ventilator
- A yet to be specifically pinpointed number of infected people die from a COVID-19 infection
- One commonly referenced estimate is that 1% of infected people will die from a COVID-19 infection
- Older people (men and women of 60 years of age and older) as well as people with certain types of preexisting medical conditions are thought to be at greater risk to experience more serious consequences when infected with COVID-19
Because biohazard cleanup teams by definition enter into your home, business, rental unit, or other location to address a potentially hazardous situation, you need to be fully assured that they don’t expose you and others to an additional hazard. In other words, you don’t want to engage a professional to deal with a biohazardous situation only to expose you and others to another biohazard in the form of COVID-19.
A major element of professional biohazard cleanup is the use of appropriate personal protective equipment or PPE. Historically, the primary purpose of PPE was to protect those involved in biohazard remediation from dangerous biomatter that was present at a home, business, rental unit, or some other location. In the COVID-19 era, PPE serves another crucial purpose. It provides an added level of protection for residents of a home, employees of a business, tenants, and so forth from possible infection by a biohazard cleanup specialist who unknowingly may harbor the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
At a minimum, a biohazard cleanup specialist dispatched to your residence, business, or other location will utilize PPE that includes:
- Face mask or respirator
- Protective glasses of goggles.
In addition, a biohazard cleanup company closely monitors the state of health of its team of remediation specialists. If a team member appears to be experiencing the onset of illness, including an indication of one or another of the early or initial symptoms of COVID-19, that individual will never be dispatched to your home.
In addition, all biohazard cleanup specialists adhere to the basic COVID-19 containment practices that include:
- Appropriate handwashing
- Suitable physical distancing (oftentimes referred to as social distancing)
- Avoidance of unnecessary contact with surfaces, particularly with unprotected hands
- Avoidance of contact between the face or head and hands
In the final analysis, your safety and the safety of others is the number one priority of a biohazard cleanup company – always. This includes engaging in the very best safety practices before, during , and after a biohazard cleanup at your home, business, rental, or other location.