Businesses will not have to close for deep cleaning, says CMO

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, is advising that businesses will not need to close their doors to facilitate deep-cleaning activities, in the event of suspected exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19), if the infection prevention and control protocols for the workplace are followed.

Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie

“Organisations need to put in place daily cleaning protocols that are sufficient to kill any virus particles that may remain on surfaces where droplets may fall. Frequently used surfaces may need to be…cleaned several times during the day. Depending on what your business is, then you may find that the intervals may vary. If infection prevention and control measures are adhered to in daily operations, then there is no need to close offices or other workplaces,” she said.

“With community transmission, it is likely that you will be at work with COVID-19 positive persons who have no symptoms and will not know that they are positive.”

— Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie

Bisasor-McKenzie, who was addressing a digital press conference hosted by the Ministry of Health & Wellness, on Thursday (September 17), noted that this advice comes as the Ministry has now revised the recommendations for infection prevention and control measures in the workplace.

“The cleaning regime for infection prevention and control has been updated in the new protocols to reflect when a more rigorous routine cleaning protocol is required,” she said.

New protocols

The CMO noted that the new protocols will serve to guide employers and employees in light of community transmission of COVID-19, as the workplace is recognised as a setting in which COVID-19 can spread quickly if employees and employers do not adhere to these measures.

“With community transmission, it is likely that you will be at work with COVID-19 positive persons who have no symptoms and will not know that they are positive. Wearing a mask, physical distancing, hand sanitising and infection control measures in the workplace, such as daily cleaning and frequent wiping of frequently used surfaces, will be sufficient to prevent exposure,” she advised.

The CMO said that if someone in the workplace is observed to be ill and has a fever or respiratory symptoms, then that person should be given a mask immediately and sent home. The area the person occupied should be wiped with a mild bleach solution or with disinfectant or alcohol. Once this is done and the area is dry, then that area is safe to be used.