How Are Areas Disinfected After a COVID-19 Case?

April 16, 2020

A North Texas company that is hired to clean up after disasters is now being hired to disinfect after clusters of COVID-19.

Dalworth Restoration has been used to clean up fire and water damage but has also been called to disinfect areas after outbreaks of the flu.

"It is different because it's new," Dalworth Restoration's Josh Hobbs says of COVID-19. "There's not really a playbook or protocols in place for handling this type of infectious disease."

Hobbs says the company has been hired by some police departments after an officer tests positive. When one of his crews is cleaning a small area, like an officer's car, he says they spray a mist to cover most of the car.

"Vehicles are pretty easy," he says. "You just stick the thing inside and let it run for three to four minutes, depending on what product you're using to reach the proper dwell time needed for the 'kill claim' against the coronavirus."

Inside a building, he says restoration companies would likely use both a mist and "foggers." He says businesses deemed "essential" have started asking Dalworth and other restoration companies to make a weekly trip to spray fog to prevent the virus from spreading since the public may still be coming and going.

"Some of the things that are more concerning about the unknown is how long this virus can last outside its host," he says. "In other words, you sneeze and that virus is floating around in a water droplet in the air. It lands on a surface and dries up pretty quickly, but that virus can live there."

The World Health Organization says coronaviruses can live on surfaces for "up to several days."

In a building, Hobbs says in addition to foggers, they would wipe down "high touch" surfaces with disinfectant, such as railings, door handles, elevator and vending machine buttons, and keyboards.

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