Floor care in the age of coronavirus

“Floors may be an overlooked source of infection."

The professional cleaning industry is increasingly concerned about COVID-19 (coronavirus).

When at work, cleaning professionals are urged to wash hands frequently and when wearing gloves, change them if visibly soiled, torn, punctured, and after cleaning one area and before moving on to work another area.

“Another thing is [to] follow some of the steps implemented in healthcare facilities to help stop the spread of infection,” says Matt Morrison, communications manager for Kaivac.

“This is especially true when it comes to floor cleaning.”

Morrison points to a 2017 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.  In this study, it was found that: Hospital room floors may be an overlooked source of infection. Because items in the patient’s room may touch the floor, pathogens on hospital floors can rapidly move to the hands and high-touch surfaces throughout a hospital room.”

The researchers tested 318 floor sites in 159 patient rooms. They found that the floors in these rooms were often contaminated with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin-resistant (VRE), both resistant to antibiotics, and C. difficile, which can cause intestinal infections.

“Efforts to improve disinfection in the hospital environment usually focus on surfaces that are frequently touched,” according to the researchers.

“Although healthcare facility floors are often heavily contaminated, limited attention has been paid to disinfection of floors because they are not frequently touched.

“[However], the results of our study suggest that floors in hospital rooms could be … a source of pathogens and are an important area for additional research.”

This applies not to just hospital floors but floors in all types of facilities, according to Morrison.

“One way to help eliminate this ‘underappreciated source of pathogens’ is to stop mopping floors. Mops can spread contamination. Floor cleaning alternatives that do not involve mops should be selected. It’s more important today than ever before.”

* Abhishek Deshpande, et.al. “Are hospital floors an underappreciated reservoir for transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens?” American Journal of Infection Control, 2017

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