CMO says businesses may not need to close for deep cleaning

Covid-19

CMO says businesses may not need to close for deep cleaning

Monday, September 21, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


CHIEF Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie has advised that once the infection prevention and control protocols for the workplace are observed, businesses will not need to close their doors to facilitate deep cleaning in the event of suspected exposure to the coronavirus.

“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,” Bisasor-McKenzie said.

She was addressing a digital press conference hosted by the Ministry of Health & Wellness last Thursday.

The advice, she said, 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.

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 the 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.

“Remember that the virus is easily killed by the appropriate agents. It is cleaned by using soap and water to wash hands and to clean surfaces, it is killed by using disinfectant, it is killed by using mild bleach solution, and by using alcohol to clean,” she said.

Dr Bisasor-McKenzie further advised that if people who were in contact with the person who was symptomatic have been adhering to their infection prevention and control measures, then there is no need for them to go home.

“However, they must obey the instructions and advice that have been offered from the workplace to say that they must adhere to all infection prevention and control measures; and if they start to feel ill they must stay home and report that they are ill,” she said.

The CMO emphasised that it is very important that management teams are engaged in knowing what they have to do to inform their workers and must play an important part in advising workers about COVID-19.

“Workers are to be advised that if they develop a fever or they're not feeling well, then they should call in and stay home. Workplaces must make those allowances to prevent the possibility of somebody who is symptomatic coming to work,” she said.

She added that if persons are not feeling better after a few days at home then they should seek medical advice, and that may include doing a test. If they have done a test and the result is positive, they will be required to stay at home for a minimum of 14 days, including three symptom-free days after symptoms are resolved.

“These measures will slow down transmission and prevent [the] overwhelming of our hospitals. Protect the vulnerable in the population by adhering to these measures while at home or in the same space as elderly or sick persons,” she urged, noting that most persons who have COVID-19 or who have chronic diseases that make them vulnerable will not look sick, so it is very important that persons stick to precautions at all times.

In the meantime, Minister of Health & Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton said the workplace protocols are intended to guide the working environment and assist the employer and employee, “to adjust to the realities of COVID — that it could be anywhere and everywhere; that it is likely to be always present, at least for now, and so we must conform to a set of protocols or behaviours that will prevent an infection or reduce the possibility of spread of an infection”.

“The community transmission is a phase that requires an all-of-society approach more than any other phase. Everyone has to play their part. In the context of a work environment, every employee and employer [in] their workspace has to comply with the rules of engagement, assuming that if the virus is present it is confined to that individual and not going to be spreading across the board,” he said.

The minister noted that the revised workplace protocols are not only influenced by the Ministry of Health & Wellness, but are guided by international standards which have evolved over time as research and studies regarding COVID-19 continue.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaper-login


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT