About COVID-19 Environmental Testing
Why test surfaces for the COVID-19 virus?
Information about the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) is constantly changing as care facilities, schools, businesses, cleaning companies and multi-unit residential facilities are looking for a way to ensure the safety of their employees, customers, residents and patients. It is important to know if and when the COVID-19 virus has infiltrated a facility.
Enviral Tech is responding to a surge of requests from concerned elder care facilities, schools, industrial cleaning companies, and property/facilities managers to be able to detect SARS-CoV-2, on surfaces either after suspicion of a COVID-19-positive patient having been in the facility or to confirm the effectiveness of professional cleaning to ensure the affected environment is safe.
Enviral Tech enables you to safely perform COVID-19 surface testing in facilities where people need to congregate, such as long-term care communities, schools, multi-unit residential housing, commercial properties, and corporate offices.
You may want to check-out: Why you should start testing your facilities now.
About COVID-19 Surface Testing
All COVID-19 environmental sampling methods are intended to detect the virus independent of the presence of an infected individual. The three main sources of environmental samples are: surface swabs, air samples, and water/waste samples.
Some of the earliest environmental samples of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for COVID-19) collected in Wuhan, China, were surface samples collected by wiping sponges or swabs over various surfaces to collect a snapshot of where potential coronavirus transmission points were in a hospital setting. This method is being used to investigate what specific materials and objects are key suspects in COVID-19 viral transmission. Current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Studies suggest that the virus can remain airborne for up to 30 minutes and live on hard surfaces for as long as 72 hours or more at 71 degrees Farenheit (22 degrees Celsius).
Surface testing is done very similarly to human COVID-19 testing and utilizes the same proven scientific technique to detect and identify the virus' genetic material on a swab. Surface testing and human testing for COVID-19 do however differ in a key way. The sampling swabs we use are made specifically for environmental use; in fact, they are not fit for human testing. This means that we do not interfere with the healthcare supply chain. In addition, we contribute to helping streamline human testing by connecting an Oregon testing facility with elder care facilities across the country.
How to test surfaces for the COVID-19 virus?
Surface samples for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) detection are collected by wiping a surface with the swabs that come in the Surface Check kit. We recommend that you test surfaces in high traffic areas, such as doorknobs, TV remote, elevator buttons, faucet handles, bedside tables, front desk, light switches, ventilation exits, soap/sanitizer dispensers, handrails, armrests, phones, or toilets. The swabs are then placed into collection tubes that contain buffer which inactivates the virus and prepares it for testing when it is received at the lab (watch the COVID-19 Surface Check how-to video here).
We guarantee results within 24 hours of receipt of your sample at our lab. We send you your results by email and we are working on a web portal where you can view your results even more easily. If your samples are negative for COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2, you will also receive a dated certificate that you can show to your patients, and their families, and to your employees.
When to get a COVID-19 Surface Test
If a patient at your long-term care community has been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19, we recommend that you test the surfaces in the areas visited by this patient as a preliminary assessment of the contamination of your facility. In addition, we recommend that you perform a clearance test of those surfaces after cleaning to ensure that the facility was properly cleaned and sanitized.
We use stringent, highly sensitive, approved methods
We use CDC and FDA approved methods to detect the virus in your facility. Our technique is highly sensitive and can detect as little as 20 viral particles in each sample. Although the minimum infectious dose of SARS-CoV-2 is unknown so far, researchers suspect it is low. A high infectious dose may lead to a higher viral load, which can impact the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. Viral load is a measure of virus particles. It is the amount of virus present once a person has been infected and the virus has had time to replicate in their cells.
Safety is our priority
We provide you with detailed instructions designed to help you mitigate the risk of cross-contamination during the sampling process. Make sure to read the instructions ahead of time and to follow them step-by-step. Our COVID-19 Surface Check kit does not contain harmful components. The samples collected are isolated from the rest of the world by sealed bags, a cardboard box and a plastic overbag with the appropriate safety labeling to keep everyone safe.
Key scientific resources
Our scientists have selected a handful of research papers that you may find helpful:
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak: A Review of the Current Literature and Built Environment (BE) Considerations to Reduce Transmission
- Aerosol and surface stability of HCoV-19 (SARS-CoV-2) compared to SARS-CoV-1
- Transmission Potential of SARS-CoV-2 in Viral Shedding Observed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center
- Air, Surface Environmental, and Personal Protective Equipment Contamination by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) From a Symptomatic Patient
- Surface sampling of coronavirus disease (COVID-19): A practical “how to” protocol for health care and public health professionals
- Environmental Contamination and Viral Shedding in MERS Patients During MERS-CoV Outbreak in South Korea
- Extensive Viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Coronavirus Contamination in Air and Surrounding Environment in MERS Isolation Wards