The Challenge of In-Person Learning
As many schools return to in-person learning, preventing COVID-19 infections is a major concern. However, preventing the spread of disease among students and staff isn’t a new challenge; schools are constantly battling outbreaks of flu, norovirus and MRSA. Thorough disinfection plays a crucial role in combatting these illnesses: viruses like norovirus can survive for weeks on certain surface types.
Schools are often higher-risk areas for the spread of disease. Classrooms and the rush of playtime or passing periods create high-traffic situations and high-contact areas. For COVID-19 specifically, all students under 12 are not yet vaccinated, which also presents opportunities for the virus to spread. Because schools and classroom learning often present situations in which it is difficult to stay appropriately masked and distanced, it is important for schools to try and mitigate the spread of disease.
CDC Recommendations for Disease Mitigation
In these higher-risk, higher-traffic environments, the CDC recommends a layered approach: multiple strategies combined to try and stop the spread. Aside from getting vaccinated, masking and distancing, the CDC lists things like proper handwashing and surface disinfection as ways to help keep students and staff safe. All shared surfaces should be disinfected daily, but it’s recommended that higher-risk and higher-traffic surfaces be disinfected more often. Just some of the listed examples of high-contact surfaces are pens, desks, doorknobs, toilets and keyboards.
This presents a problem: how can schools properly disinfect all these surfaces multiple times a day? School days are fast-paced, and there’s no time for the traditional spray-and-wipe methods that most are familiar with.
The Best Solution For Schools
Electrostatic disinfection offers the solution. Sprayers apply a positive charge to disinfectant particles, which helps them stick to surfaces and even wrap around to cover hard-to-reach areas. Electrostatic sprayers are fast to use—research shows that they apply chemical up to 90% more efficiently than traditional cleaning methods. When layering in disinfection strategies at your school, Electrostatic disinfection can help you achieve the quick clean you need.
Courtesy of Victory Innovations
Keeping childcare settings open and healthy is essential for children and parents alike. From schools to daycare facilities, childcare settings play a key role in the social, behavioral and mental development of the children who attend. They also provide necessary support to families and give parents the freedom to leave the house and go to work.
As COVID-19 continues to spread and flu season approaches, focusing on infection prevention strategies in childcare settings is a vital part of keeping our communities safe. Children often play in close quarters with each other and often touch their eyes, nose and mouth—this means that illness can spread easily in childcare settings without proper protocols in place. Because this spread of disease impacts not only the children but their families and caretakers, following local guidance to prevent infection in childcare centers is a necessary part of public health.
Throughout the pandemic, the CDC has recommended various strategies to lower transmission, many of which have become familiar in many aspects of our lives. Childcare centers are encouraged to rearrange their spaces to be conducive to social distancing. The CDC also recommends grouping children into smaller “cohorts” that only interact amongst themselves and staggering the times cohorts are using different spaces in the center. Childcare centers are also recommended to ensure proper hand washing among both children and staff.
One key strategy the CDC elaborates on for preventing many types of infection in childcare settings is surface disinfection. Because children touch their eyes, noses and mouths so frequently, it is easy for them to carry or become infected with any pathogens that remain on a surface. The CDC recommends childcare centers focus on disinfecting frequently touched objects like toys, handles, faucets, tables and drinking fountains between cohorts. The CDC also recommends that you regularly disinfect outside benches and railings made of metal or plastic, and that you not allow children near surfaces until disinfectant chemical is completely dry and no longer suspended in the air.
Disinfecting childcare settings is important, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Electrostatic sprayers are the perfect combination of effective, efficient, and easy to use. We add a positive charge to disinfectant droplets, which causes them to stick to negative and neutrally charged surfaces rather than staying suspended in the air. Not only does this help ensure complete coverage of even hard-to-reach surfaces, but with fewer suspended chemical particles in the air your space is useable again sooner for everyone. Our sprayers are far more effective than traditional cleaning tools like spray bottles and rags.
Courtesy of Victory Innovations
The difference between cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting
A lot of people believe that if a surface looks clean, it is safe to touch. But is it really? While infection prevention is a priority for most businesses and public places, there is still a need for improved cleaning protocols that can help ensure public health and safety.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),as few as 18 invisible viral particles can make you sick. To put things in perspective, about 18,000 viral particles can comfortably sit on the tip of a pencil. Knowing that, it can be hard to picture the sheer number of viruses and pathogens that may be resting under the lip of a counter or even on an airplane seat. That’s why it’s crucial to know the differences between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting, as well as understand the outcome of each method before setting your own routine.
The main purpose of cleaning is to remove visible soil, stains, debris, microorganisms and organic substances from surfaces using soap and water. The process of cleaning does not kill germs but may reduce their numbers.
Typically, surfaces require cleaning to remove impurities before they can be disinfected or sanitized. This is because the presence of dirt and other organic substances can decrease the effectiveness of your sanitizer or disinfectant. That’s why cleaning is still an important first step in your sanitising and disinfecting practices.
Sanitising methods use either heat, ultraviolet light radiation or all-purpose cleaners to kill or reduce the number of bacteria present on surfaces to levels that are deemed safe by public health safety standards — helping to decrease the risk of infection. And while sanitizing can eliminate up to 99.9 percent of bacteria, it may not destroy viruses or fungi.
Sanitising is a more common practice for dishwashing, laundering and cleaning surfaces used for food preparation so as to prevent contamination from harsh chemical residues.
The process of disinfecting uses chemicals to eliminate up to 99.999 percent of germs and disease-causing pathogens (with the exception of bacterial spores) on hard, non-porous surfaces and objects. Keyboards, office phones, sink faucets, water fountains, door handles, and elevator panels are just a few examples of common, high-touch surfaces that can harbor high levels of contaminants and would benefit from routine disinfection. To achieve a chemical’s germ kill claim on these surfaces, the disinfectant needs to sit on a surface for the amount of time specified on the chemical’s label before it is dried or wiped away. This is known as the “dwell time.”
When selecting a chemical disinfectant, it’s important to reference the solution’s label to know which contagions it’s formulated to kill. While pathogens like the flu virus are relatively susceptible to basic disinfecting solutions, stronger viruses, bacteria and fungi will require more powerful disinfecting methods. Disinfecting chemicals must also be registered with the EPA before they are deemed safe for use in your specific space or facility.
A wide range of devices can be used to distribute disinfectants onto surfaces. Wipes and spray bottles are the most common method for small areas but are only effective when used correctly. For example, it is recommended that you only use one wipe for every two square feet of surface. To disinfect larger spaces and surfaces, foggers and electrostatic sprayers can be used. But regardless of the method you choose, it is important that you establish a consistent disinfecting routine to help minimize the spread of most common illnesses. For more information, visit the CDC website for disinfecting best practices as well as pathogen-specific control.
How to know when to clean, sanitise or disinfect
It’s important to think about your desired outcome when selecting between cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting methods for your space. If the goal is aesthetics or to prepare a space for disinfection or sanitisation, then traditional cleaning techniques should suffice. If you are dealing with a surface used for food preparation, sanitising methods are recommended to prevent food from coming into contact with harsh chemicals. And if you’re trying to eliminate all disease-causing pathogens on high-touch surfaces, then disinfecting is the preferred method. More importantly, any combination of cleaning, sanitising or disinfecting should be conducted on a regular basis to ensure the health and cleanliness of your space.
Contact us for further information and to learn how we can assist you.
Courtesy of Victory Innovations
Unlike traditional cleaning by hand, electrostatic application provides far wider coverage and a more thorough disinfection. When we spray our product that is charged with electrostatics, the solution will envelop the target. This means it is far harder to miss any areas; this is key when disinfecting an area that has been subjected to a virus. Any untouched areas from a manual clean could still harbour the virus making all efforts worthless.
Cross contamination is virtually reduced to nil due to the touchless aspect of our system. Surfaces will not be touched by cloths or human hands, therefore won’t be moving bacteria or viruses from one place to another.
Most people will not realise that for disinfectants to be effective, they require a certain contact dwell time with the surface in order to kill bacteria and viruses. This time depends upon several factors and the product being used. Simply spraying and wiping a surface immediately will often not fully kill a virus or bacteria. Our system leaves the disinfectant on the surface until dry, providing the correct minimal dwell time to do the job.
The electrostatic positive charge inserted into the droplet in our system (unlike any other electrostatic application) enables the droplet to adhere itself to the surface via the cationic charge. As the droplets hit the surface they create an even spread because they hold their cationic charge for approx 2-3 seconds therefore not creating drips, as two positive charges will repel from each other.
With the application of our eco-friendly solution through the electrostatic sprayer, there is no need to touch/wipe the surface(s). This means equipment and possessions do not need to be touched during our process.
Tests have shown Productivity to be over 6x better than traditional disinfecting by hand. Making our system considerably more cost effective when tackling large scale disinfection.
As the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus continues to sweep through the world, many are grappling with something nobody was hoping for: COVID-19 is likely here to stay.
An endemic instead of a pandemic
At the start of the pandemic, many medical professionals warned that the novel coronavirus could become endemic, much like the influenza virus. Unlike a pandemic, an endemic is a disease that never really goes away, but behaves and spreads in predictable ways. Many endemic viruses, like the seasonal flu, are constantly mutating – that’s why you have to get a new flu shot every year. Some experts believe it will be impossible for the world to reach herd immunity for COVID-19 – this may be partially due to the rise in new strains like the Delta variant and partially to low vaccination rates.
So what can we do?
Luckily, it’s not all bleak. Even if the novel coronavirus is here to stay, it likely won’t remain as deadly over time. But the current Delta variant is certainly a cause for concern, especially since it’s more than twice as contagious as previous variants. Nobody wants a repeat of early 2020, but we should all be taking precautions to keep each other safe. By now, we have several tools at our disposal to keep people and environments as safe as possible.
What you can do
The CDC recommends getting vaccinated as a primary defense against COVID-19. It’s also recommending masks for everyone, even vaccinated people, to help slow transmission. Even simple acts such as washing your hands often and not touching your face can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Businesses may be especially nervous about the threat of the Delta variant. While the statewide closures we saw in 2020 are less likely, patrons may not feel as safe shopping, dining inside or going to events. Now is not the time to retire your pandemic response protocols. The Delta variant should be proof that masks, social distancing and thorough cleaning procedures were not just a temporary thing.
The CDC says that “If there has been a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in your facility within the last 24 hours, you should clean AND disinfect the space.”
The problem is that unless you ask every patron for their negative COVID test before entering, you have no idea if someone is infected – and you can’t rely on contact tracing to let you know. The better solution is to plan in advance by asking everyone to take precautions and disinfect areas thoroughly, especially high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, handrails and elevator buttons. The last thing you want is to be the site of a major outbreak.
But thorough disinfecting takes time – time you and your staff don’t have. It’s also often ineffective, especially if you’re relying on spray bottles and rags that just smear germs around. Just like masks and vaccines are tools to keep people safe, there are new tools to help you keep spaces disinfected, without needing hours of difficult manual labor.
Bigger problems require better tools
Electrostatic sprayers are the new standard for disinfecting. They can coat hundreds of square feet in just minutes, they’re compatible with any water-based chemical, and they’re easy for anyone to use. Just point and spray, and you’ll immediately get even, far-reaching chemical coverage. The electrostatic technology even helps chemical particles wrap around curved surfaces, ensuring every hard-to-reach area is disinfected.
COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon, which means our precautions shouldn’t either – especially if they prevent forced business closures and stay-at-home mandates. We all need to be prepared for the long haul, and everyone can make small changes to keep each other safe.
Courtesy of Victory Innovations