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Infection Control News

The strain of novel Coronavirus identified in Wuhan, China has the world on alert as it continues to spread across the globe. The total number of infected people according to Chinese officials stands at 20,438 with 425 dead as of this writing but is expected to increase. Epidemiological models have predicted as many as 100,000 or more people may already be infected.

Tom PeterTom Peter discusses the impact of Coronavirus on the infection control industry.

Coronavirus is thought to originate in bats. Chinese authorities have reported that the virus jumped from an unknown animal species to humans in a market that specialized in various kinds of live animal sales. Transmission can occur from one person to another and there is a debate about whether or not the virus can be transmitted prior to infected individuals showing symptoms. The CDC has confirmed cases in the United States dating back as early as Jan 21st. US officials have also directed travelers from Wuhan to certain airports equipped for screening.

As the likelihood of pandemic continues to increase, the effects of the virus are being felt worldwide not just in terms of infection but also in available infection control supplies which are being strained. Infection control experts are experiencing serious challenges as they prepare for potential outbreaks, as well as infectious dangers that already exist in their locales.

“Much of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that we use – disposable gloves, Tyvek suits, N95 masks – are manufactured in China. We have suppliers notifying us that freighters bringing these items to the U.S. are being turned around to meet the demands in China. The availability of these critical items is plummeting,” says Tom Peter, CEO of Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. Even if they are not combating Coronavirus, the shortage still worries remediation professionals. “Our Infection Control Technology division uses the PPE gear every day for any kind of biohazard situation,” says Peter. “Whether we’re disinfecting a Norovirus outbreak, performing mold removals, or cleaning up crime scenes, our technicians are fully outfitted for their protection.”

There is also a potential shortage of effective tools and materials for effective disinfection. According to Peter, “We rely on proven technologies to combat infectious outbreaks. For complete room disinfection, we use the TOMI SteraMistTM system. It delivers Ionized Hydrogen Peroxide (IHP), which can wipe out biohazards safely, quickly and effectively.” As demand for large-area treatments increases, the availability of tools like this will also be strained.

IRS is taking measures to insure that the Company is prepared as the Coronavirus breakout plays out. “We’ve been working with our suppliers and project managers to carefully project requirements and plan for any disturbances in the supply chain,” says Peter.

Infection Control Technologies, (ICT) a division of Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. (IRS) is one of the nation’s leading Building Hygiene contractors. ICT provides Facility Hygiene Services and Emergency Decontamination for some of the nation’s most respected real estate and Risk Management Professionals, Health Care, Municipalities, Institutions, Food Safety, Transportation, and government organizations.