Coronavirus Mitigation: Cleaning and Disinfection

The spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to much uncertainty for people in their daily lives. Tri-County Health Care is committed to providing a safe environment for patients and communities, and remains open for business to provide health care during this pandemic.

The Environmental Services team ensures that cleaning and disinfecting is done every day to ensure patient safety.The entire staff has taken proactive measures to mitigate concerns around the Coronavirus. This includes new cleaning and disinfection routines throughout our facilities.

The TCHC Environmental Services team has worked with Quality and Infection Control, and monitored updates from the Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health to create guidelines for cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces and areas directly after patient contact.

All waiting room areas are being cleaned and disinfected every hour and all restrooms every two hours. These areas were previously cleaned a couple times each day. If a patient has been in the area, the cleaning staff is not far behind to disinfect all surfaces that may have come into contact.

“We have always cleaned the same surfaces, but are now doing it more often,” said Betty Klingaman, TCHC housekeeping supervisor. “We are doing a very thorough cleaning, and disinfecting all high traffic surfaces every hour.”

The standard disinfectant proven to kill the Coronavirus is sprayed on a surface and left for 10 minutes of contact time before being wiped down. All high touch surfaces including chairs, counter tops, tables, door handles, light switches, handrails and many more, are repeatedly disinfected.

Nurses have always wiped high touch surfaces in exam rooms after each patient. They are now using a Coronavirus-killing disinfectant to make sure Ultraviolet cleaning machine used to disinfect and kill the Coronavirus. Housekeeping employee stands behind and pushes machine along.everything in the room is decontaminated before the next appointment.

Utilizing Ultraviolet Light to Kill the Coronavirus

One new and exciting device in use at Tri-County Health Care is a robot that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to disinfect surfaces and kill the Coronavirus, and many viruses and bacteria in patient and exam rooms. The robot is set up and items are moved away from the wall so the UV light can hit every part of the room for thorough disinfection.

This robot is used in all ReadyCare rooms every evening. It is also utilized in the Emergency Department, operating rooms and hospital patient rooms.

Staff members do their regular cleaning and disinfecting routines prior to running the UV robot. Utilizing the robot adds another important layer to the process for limiting the spread of not only the Coronavirus, but many other potential contaminants.

Each member of the Environmental Services team plays a crucial role in making sure it is safe for patients to come in for any healthcare need.

“Our department is very conscientious of all the work they do and make sure to cover every area,” Klingaman said. “I feel very confident we are doing what we need to do and that our patients are safe.”

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