COVID-19 Cleaning Validation Testing and Inspections
The current pandemic caused by the COVID-19 corona virus has affected many countries and unfortunately continues to spread. It can lead to severe pneumonia, with consequent hospitalisation of around one-fifth of those contracting it and 1 in 20 people becoming critically ill.
There will be a need for property owners, facility managers and others to consider undertaking a risk assessment and acting under the risk hierarchy to minimise their risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19 in their buildings. In the event of contamination from a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in an office, elevator, hotel, restaurant, accommodation, public transport, public spaces or private residence cleaning services may be required.
COVID-19 Cleaning Validation Testing and InspectionsCOVID 19 decontamination requires a two-step process of cleaning followed by disinfecting.
CDC, 2020a uses the following definitions:
Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill germs. But by removing the germs, it decreases their number and therefore any risk of spreading infection.
Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. But killing germs remaining on a surface after cleaning further reduces any risk of spreading infection.
Testing should be used as part of a quality assurance procedure to demonstrate that the building has been adequately cleaned with recommended cleaning procedures and cleaning chemicals to remove surface particulate, and by extension, effect inactivation of COVID-19.
COVID 19 Post cleaning validation is an important step in ensuring that areas have been cleaned effectively and sterilised satisfactorily.
The use of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) for hygiene status assessment is commonplace and is utilised as an indicator of residual contamination of a surface. This method has also been recommended by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) in their COVID-19 restoration document released on 19 March 2020. ATP thresholds have been set based on those recommended by manufacturers for health care settings.
If post remediation validation testing for COVID-19 is requested a representative number of samples will be collected from high-touch surfaces to be sent to an external laboratory for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) analysis. Sample processing and transport time are expected to take 1-2 working days.
Opira will provide a detailed inspection report describing the scope of works, the inspection outcomes, ATP testing results and laboratory analysis for COVID-19 virus where requested. The report will clearly state whether the cleaning has been completed satisfactorily and any recommendations if further works are required.
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