Glenn Rasin

By: Glenn Rasin on February 7th, 2020

Print/Save as PDF

How to Protect Your Facility From 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

[Updated: February 3, 2021]

Now, more than a year after the original Coronavirus cases surfaced, the world continues to combat the spread of Coronavirus in full force.

While Coronavirus has rarely left the news for more than one cycle, there’s been increased attention around the emergence of “new strains” of Coronavirus. 

The original strain originated in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and quickly spread around the world. 

Since then, new strains of Coronavirus have been detected in the United States and across the globe. While many are concerned to learn there are new strains, the CDC reports that like any other virus, new variants are expected to occur over time.

To help you navigate the best way to control the spread of this virus and to prevent an outbreak from occurring in your facility, EBP has gathered information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and several of our manufacturing partners.

In this article, we’ll go over the basic facts about 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), how to protect your facility and guests, and provide a list of products that are effective against SARS-CoV-2 when used in accordance with disinfection directions.

Download our FREE, Coronavirus Readiness Playbook: 6 Vital Steps to Protect Your Facility, designed to provide you with the 6 vital steps you need to keep your facility protected against a Coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus Readiness Playbook: 6 Vital Steps to Protect Your Facility

What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV for short, is the virus that is causing a global outbreak of respiratory disease.

As of February 11th, 2020, the International Committee on Taxonomy of  Viruses (ICTV) has released the official name for 2019 Novel Coronavirus as "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2" (SARS-CoV-2). 

This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the Coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003.  While related, the two viruses are different. 

Because of the prevalence of the outbreak, it is now most commonly referred to simply as “Coronavirus.”

However, keep in mind that Coronavirus can actually refer to a number of viruses that have been around for years. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that include Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

As stated by the World Health Organization, the "novel Coronavirus (nCoV) or SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans."


In addition to the original SARS-CoV-2 virus strain originating in China, the CDC has now identified multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 globally, including:

  • B.1.1.7 Variant
    First mutations discovered in the Fall of 2020 in the United Kingdom (UK).
  • B.1.315 Variant
    Emerging from South Africa in October of 2021. 
  • P.1 Variant
    First detected in January 2021 in Brazil. 

While these variants have emerged in certain U.S. states, the majority of cases remain in their originating geography. For more information on these new variants, visit the CDC

All variants of SARS-CoV-2 identified today can cause COVID-19, a mild to severe respiratory illness. 

Pro Tip: In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. 

Symptoms for the variants remain the same, however can range in severity. For example, experts in the UK report that the B.1.1.7 variant may be associated with an increased risk of death compared to other variants.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

How is COVID-19 Transmitted?

Germs Spread 1

Similar to cold and flu viruses, SARS-CoV-2 spreads primarily from person-to-person via contact and respiratory droplets, such as when an infected individual coughs or sneezes.

Initially, the CDC did not know if SARS-CoV-2 could spread any other way besides close contact and respiratory droplets. However, they have since confirmed that the virus can also be spread by: 

  • Exposure to small droplets and particles that linger in the air for minutes to hours. These virus particles may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet away from the person who is infected or after that person has left the space
  • Touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

People are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic (showing signs of illness), however, there have been cases of infected individuals with no symptoms spreading the illness to others when in close contact.

The new SARS-CoV-2 variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. As a result, it is more important than ever to prevent the spread. 

How to Prevent The Spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Your Facility

As of December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the first emergency use authorization (EUA) for a vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 16 years of age and older.

Following, on December 18, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the second vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The emergency use authorization allows the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S for use in individuals 18 years of age and older.

The vaccines are intended to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Each vaccine requires two doses to be effective. 

At this time, the vaccine is being distributed in phases with healthcare workers and the elderly, as well as high risk individuals being prioritized. Additional distribution guidelines vary by state.

While vaccine distribution is underway, and COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely available, the cleanliness and safety of your facility will remain paramount. 

Best practices to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in your facility include:

  • Follow Proper Handwashing Procedures and Wash Hands Frequently
  • Have Hand Sanitizer Accessible
  • Provide Occupants with Facial Tissue
  • Avoid Close Contact with People who are Sick
  • Encourage Sick Individuals to Stay Home if Showing Symptoms
  • Consider Testing for SARS-CoV-2
  • Clean and Disinfect to Prevent the Spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Hand Sanitizer

Follow Proper Handwashing Procedures

Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of illness and to avoid getting sick.

Encourage proper handwashing procedures. Occupants should scrub their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing with running water.

Remind building occupants to wash their hands carefully and frequently especially:

  • after going to the bathroom
  • before eating
  • after coughing or sneezing
  • before touching their eyes, nose or mouth

Have Hand Sanitizer Accessible

Soap and Water Wash HandsWhen water and soap are not available or there is limited access, hand sanitizers can play an integral role in hand hygiene.

Provide occupants with alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, to kill and prevent the spread of germs.

Hand sanitizer can also be used when an individual has come into contact with a high-touch surface, like a doorknob, phone, or lightswitch, and it is not practical to wash their hands repeatedly.

Provide Occupants with Facial Tissue

Spreading through aerosolized droplets, it is important to encourage building occupants to cough or sneeze into a facial tissue and dispose of it right away.

If a facial tissue isn’t available, encourage people to cough or sneeze into the bend of their elbow to prevent the spread of droplets.

Avoid Close Contact with People who are Sick

Spreading from person-to-person, transmission occurs among close contact or when individuals come in contact with an infected person who is within 6 feet.

If someone is showing signs of illness, like coughing, keep a measurable distance to reduce the chance of germs spreading.

Encourage Sick Individuals to Stay Home if Showing Symptoms

Prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 or any other illness by encouraging individuals to stay home from work or school when they are experiencing symptoms.

Sick Employee

Consider Testing for SARS-CoV-2

Not everyone who gets sick will show symptoms. To help curb the spread of Coronavirus, consider periodically testing workers for Coronavirus. 

Approaches may include initial testing of all workers before returning to a workplace, periodic testing of workers at regular intervals, or targeted testing of new workers or those returning from a prolonged absence such as medical leave or furlough, or some combination of approaches. 

Visit the CDC for resources that can help you determine if this will be an effective strategy for your business.

Clean and Disinfect to Prevent the Spread of SARS-CoV-2

The CDC has confirmed that contamination of surfaces is likely occurring when an infected individual coughs or sneezes and releases respiratory droplets, however, the risk of infection is low. 

Cleaning and disinfecting high touch points around your facility like doorknobs, elevator buttons, countertops, and handrails, as well as encouraging occupants to disinfect items in their immediate area, like their desk, phone, and computer can help limit the spread of pathogens.

Pro Tip: For disinfectants to prove effective, the surface must first be cleaned. Cleaning removes loose soils, preparing the surface or object to be disinfected. Disinfecting kills germs on the surface, preventing them from spreading. If a surface is not cleaned first, germs can hide under soils and reduce the efficacy of the disinfectant. Use the steps in our previous article, "What is the Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting?", to properly perform cleaning and disinfection procedures.

Clean

Use a multi-purpose surface cleaner or cleaner/disinfectant to wipe down and remove any visible soil.

Disinfect

Initially, no registered disinfectants had a claim against this specific Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 because it was so new

So, in order to detect and contain SARS-CoV-2, the EPA in accordance with the U.S government and the CDC has activated its Emerging Viral Pathogens Guidance for Antimicrobial Pesticides.

Under this guidance, EPA is providing pesticide registrants with a voluntary process to enable the use of certain EPA-registered disinfectant products against this emerging viral pathogen.

Meaning, select products that have been shown effective against similar viruses like Human Coronavirus, SARS associated Coronavirus, or Rotavirus can be used on hard surfaces against SARS-CoV-2 when used in accordance with disinfection directions.

According to the EPA, an eligible product must meet both of the following criteria:

  1. The product is an EPA-registered, hospital/healthcare or broad-spectrum disinfectant with directions for use on hard, porous or non-porous surfaces.
  1. The currently accepted product label should have disinfectant efficacy claims against at least one of the following viral pathogen groupings:

a) A product should be approved by EPA to inactivate at least one large or one small non-enveloped virus to be eligible for use against an enveloped emerging viral pathogen.

b) A product should be approved by EPA to inactivate at least one small, nonenveloped virus to be eligible for use against a large, non-enveloped emerging viral pathogen.

c) A product should be approved by EPA to inactivate at least two small, nonenveloped viruses with each from a different viral family to be eligible for use against a small, non-enveloped emerging viral pathogen.

The EPA has since tested disinfectants directly against SARS-CoV-2 and approved them for use. 

The first two approved products were certified in July of 2020. The EPA continues to add more products as they are tested. 

As of January 2021, there are 96 products that hold SAR-CoV-2 specific kill claims and have been proven effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on laboratory testing. The EPA hopes to continue testing and approving additional products. 

While there are 96 products with SARS-CoV-2 specific kill claims, it is vital to understand that there are over 500 products approved for use against SARS-CoV-2 according to the EPA’s Emerging Pathogens Guidelines above.

All of the products that the EPA lists as effective against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) when used according to the label directions are found on one list, List N. 

List N Tool: COVID-19 Disinfectants

Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses, meaning they are one of the easiest to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product. But, always check with the product label or an EBP Sales Executive to confirm efficacy against this virus and to review the proper protocols for disinfection.

Pro Tip: Adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines (or the product label) for the recommended wet dwell time for disinfection.

For additional information about 2019-nCoV refer to the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/Coronavirus/2019-nCoV/


Final Thoughts  

Encouraging and implementing preventative measures throughout your facility is critical to occupant health and infection prevention. And, using disinfectant products on surfaces can help limit the spread of diseases.

EBP will continue to monitor this ongoing situation, and as news becomes available, we will provide updated information. 

Warning: The Coronavirus situation continues to put a strain on essential items in the U.S. and around the world. Orders for face masks, disposable gloves, sanitizers, disinfectants and related items have dramatically increased globally, and our manufacturers are having difficulty keeping up with the higher demand.  As a result, orders for these items may be temporarily limited.

EBP is a leading distributor of commercial cleaning supplies and is ready to help you combat coronavirus. We have Sales Executives ready to recommend the best products to help reduce the risk of germs spreading throughout your facility.

Reach out to your current Sales Executive or contact us to help you find the products that will be most effective in your facility today.

Download our FREE, Coronavirus Readiness Playbook: 6 Vital Steps to Protect Your Facility, designed to provide you with the 6 vital steps you need to keep your facility protected against a Coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus Readiness Playbook: 6 Vital Steps to Protect Your Facility

Check Out These Related Articles:

About Glenn Rasin

Glenn Rasin is the Chemical Specialist for EBP Supply Solutions and Lead Trainer for the EBP Training Academy, which offers CMI-certified training courses for supervisory and front-line cleaning professionals throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. He is an ISSA CMI-certified trainer, with over 35 years of experience in the janitorial and sanitation industry.