Tips for Preventing Norovirus Outbreaks in your Facility

 A view of the norovirus under the microscope. Credit Creative Commons
A view of the norovirus under the microscope. CREDIT CREATIVE COMMONS

News coverage, including this article featuring Curt Admire from City Wide, surrounding recent norovirus outbreaks bring to light the importance of implementing an aggressive cleaning regime to keep your facility safe.

Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis outbreaks in the United States, resulting in as many as 21 million cases each year and 1.9 million hospital visits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that noroviruses are responsible for more than half of all food-borne disease outbreaks each year.

The CDC has identified three primary modes of transmission for norovirus, which include direct contact with an infected person, contact with a contaminated surface, and consumption of contaminated foods and beverages.

To help minimize the spread of norovirus in a school, medical building, restaurant, hotel, or other public space, facility managers need to implement a vigorous cleaning regime. Here are three of the most commonly overlooked “Hot Spots” in your facility:

1. Door handles, railings, and light switches. Since door handles, railings, and light switches are three of the most commonly touched surfaces in a building, it’s important to wipe down and disinfect them regularly. This includes door handles and railings leading into offices, restrooms, storage areas, refrigerators, as well as the front and back entrances that are often used by employees. While light switches in primary areas of a facility, such as the lobby, might be touched only once a day, light switches in other areas such as meeting rooms, offices, or the restroom are used more frequently and require additional cleaning.
2. Community tables, benches, and chairs. To prevent the spread of bacteria and norovirus infection, clean all parts of the table, seat, or bench, including the bottom of arm rests and beneath the table’s surface. Whether it is in a conference room, waiting area, or an employee cafeteria, these surfaces are touched often and should be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
3. Elevators and drinking fountains. Elevator buttons can also be a likely source for virus transmission. It’s key to wipe down elevator buttons on a daily basis and sanitize them at least once a week. Drinking fountains can become contaminated by an assortment of germs from the user’s mouth and hands, which is why it’s important to disinfect these surfaces daily, specifically the spouts and handles.

While an aggressive cleaning regime is essential in reducing the impact or threat of a virus, good hygiene is equally important in preventing an infection of norovirus from spreading in your facility.

If you have any questions about how to keep your customers and employees safe, please contact your local City Wide Maintenance representative.