Updated guidance for COVID disinfecting, when cleaning alone isn’t enough

Coronavirus Facts First

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Does it need to be cleaned or disinfected?

Dr. Jeff Harp from Highland Family Medicine discussed updated CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces when COVID-19 is a concern Tuesday during News 8 at Sunrise.

What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?

Cleaning reduces germs on surfaces by removing contaminants and may also weaken or damage some of the virus particles, which decreases the risk of infection from surfaces. Cleaning is done with products containing soap or detergent. Disinfecting kills any remaining germs on surfaces, which further reduces any risk of spreading infection. Only certain products are able to disinfect.

How do I know which products are able to disinfect?

Use a disinfectant product from the EPA List N that is effective against COVID-19. Go to the EPA list N online tool and enter the EPA Registration number on the product. The site will tell you if that product is an effective disinfectant. The list is available online here.

When is cleaning alone enough?

The risk of infection from touching a surface or object is now known to be lower. When no people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are known to have been in a space, cleaning once a day is usually enough to sufficiently remove viruses that may be on surfaces and help maintain a healthy facility.

You may want to either clean more frequently or choose to disinfect (in addition to cleaning) in shared spaces if certain conditions apply that can increase the risk of infection from touching surfaces:

-High transmission of COVID-19 in your community,

-Low number of people wearing masks,

-Infrequent hand hygiene, including spaces shared by small children, or

-The space is occupied by certain populations, such as people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19

When should we be disinfecting routinely?

If there has been a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in your facility or home within the last 24 hours, you should clean AND disinfect the space at least daily, more frequently for high use/high risk areas.

What precautions should be taken while cleaning or disinfecting?

Assure adequate ventilation.

Wear gloves for all tasks in the cleaning process.

Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after cleaning, immediately after removing gloves.

Special considerations should be made for people with asthma. Some cleaning and disinfection products can trigger asthma.

Where can we look for more information?

The CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html

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