This flu season will be like no other as facility managers brace for the annual influenza outbreak amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While the two illnesses share many similarities, there are some key differences that may affect how you maintain a healthy work environment for your occupants. Now is the time to prepare your facility to avoid a “winter twindemic” that some experts fear may occur during the peak flu months of December through February.
FLU VS COVID-19
Scientists are learning more every day about the novel coronavirus, and the best way to stay up to date is to follow news from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to current CDC information, while the two illnesses share common symptoms such as fatigue, fever, and shortness of breath, the novel coronavirus seems to cause more serious illness in some people.
Another difference is that people typically take longer to develop symptoms after being infected with COVID-19. Experts are still trying to determine how long someone can spread SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but they believe they may be contagious for a longer period of time than if they had the flu.
One of the primary differences is that a vaccine for the flu exists now. Researchers are working to create one for COVID-19 but we don’t know at this time when one will be widely available.
And because the novel coronavirus is more contagious among certain populations and age groups, enhanced measures may be required to prepare your facility to help maintain a healthy workplace.
HOW TO PREPARE
Encourage tenants and employees to get the flu vaccine. Communicate the importance of getting a flu shot this year and provide resources about where they can get a flu vaccine. Also, consider hosting a flu vaccine clinic at your facility.
Provide resources and materials to promote preventative actions. For example, install no-touch soap dispensers and faucets in restrooms, and placing hand sanitizing stations at high touch, high traffic areas such as elevator lobbies. Post signs throughout the building encouraging frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. Mister Kleen offers hand sanitizing stations for purchase as a convenience for clients who may be having difficulty sourcing a large supply of these items.
Establish a cleaning and disinfection plan to accommodate potential outbreaks. Review the current scope of work with your cleaning provider and consider incorporating more frequent cleaning and application of disinfectant. As more facilities and businesses reopen during the winter months, increased traffic in offices and other enclosed areas pose a greater risk of infection spread. You may also want to plan for a potential COVID-19 case that will require a deep cleaning that may include Electrostatic Disinfection services.
With the proper planning, you may be able to help keep your tenants and occupants working safely and in good health through the winter flu season. Mister Kleen is here to help – please feel free to contact us by calling 703.619.7900, clicking here to email us, or filling out our online form.