Partnering to fight COVID-19

Using real-time surface testing to protect vulnerable populations from viral infections.

Overview of our partnership programs

Enviral Tech partners with senior care facilities and commercial cleaning companies to deliver rapid surface testing results following cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Partnerships aim to ensure facilities and communities remain safe and virus-free.

  • Validate cleaning and disinfecting protocols to verify the successful elimination of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • Increase the efficacy of emergency response plans designed to control and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
photo caution cleaning in progress

“Facilities are going to have to give the public confidence by doing ongoing surface testing. Other environments do that today and I think we’ll have to do that (as well)."   Phil Fogg Jr., President and CEO of Marquis Companies and Consonus Health

SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for causing the COVID-19 disease, has become an ever-present and invisible threat keeping many of us awake at night. It’s the unseen nature of viruses that can be remarkably unsettling. A microscopic enemy that can seemingly be everywhere, and nowhere, all at once.

Where does this unsettling notion leave us once we become aware that our environment has been exposed to a confirmed case of the SARS-CoV-2 virus? It’s disconcerting, to say the least. Even for the most tempered dispositions among us. Once an exposure has been identified, it’s reasonable to expect the presence of the virus in the surrounding environment. Yet, we still can’t determine exactly where it is with any real degree of certainty.

photo woman cleaning withPPE on

So, we clean everything...
Or at least we try to, while maintaining focus on high-touch, high traffic surfaces, as outlined by CDC cleaning guidelines for preventing COVID-19 (1). Despite all our best efforts, this can still leave us questioning whether or not our cleaning and disinfecting measures have successfully eliminated the virus from our surroundings. We still can’t see it, after all.

This is where environmental surface testing becomes a vital tool. Not just for providing peace of mind to inhabitants, but also concrete data to help identify the presence (and effective removal) of a virus in the surrounding environment (3). Industry leaders working in senior living and long-term care facilities represent one of the most crucial stakeholders for access to the information delivered by environmental surface testing. Charged with caring for the most vulnerable populations facing the coronavirus pandemic, industry professionals serving these communities are hard at work developing emergency response plans designed to combat the virus.

President and CEO of Marquis Companies and Consonus Health, Phil Fogg Jr. calls upon his colleagues in the industry to act decisively in creating and implementing these plans. Marquis Health Services is one of the Northeast’s leading providers in Subacute Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Facilities. Phil Fogg Jr.'s call to action suggests that, “Facilities are going to have to give the public confidence by doing ongoing surface testing” that may then be certified by a third party, he added. “Other environments do that today and I think we’ll have to do that (as well).” (4)

Phil Fogg Marquis

This is where environmental surface testing becomes a vital tool. [...] to help identify the presence (and effective removal) of a virus in our surrounding environment.

What is environmental testing?

Environmental surface testing uses methods similar to those used for collecting samples in humans.

Both human and environmental sample collection methods use a standardized swab or sponge to collect a sample. For human testing, samples are collected from the nose and throat. In the case of environmental testing, samples are collected from solid surfaces in the surrounding area. Once a sample is collected, detection methods for both techniques use real-time PCR machines that multiply a specific part of the genetic material from SARS-CoV-2 to identify the presence or absence of the virus in a sample.

Fortunately, human and environmental testing methods differ enough to allow environmental testing to occur without diverting critical access to limited supplies for human tests. A rather important factor when considering the resource constraints, and supply chain issues currently inhibiting access to human testing for COVID-19.

How is Environmental Testing Used?

Knowledge that our immediate surroundings have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 is a daunting reality to face. However, consider this scenario from the perspective of administrators, staff and healthcare professionals charged with caring for one of the most vulnerable populations facing this global pandemic.

photo nurse vaccinating older man

In order to stay ahead of the pandemic, facilities are preparing themselves with [...] emergency response plans aimed at controlling and mitigating the spread of infection should a confirmed case arise in one of their facilities. This is where environmental testing plays a crucial role.

This is the case for the many professionals currently overseeing senior living, and long-term care facilities. This is where Enviral Tech can help. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Enviral Tech has been working to rapidly deliver environmental testing to ensure these organizations are equipped with the information they need to efficiently combat the virus, and protect the lives of the community members they serve.

As a result, we’ve had the opportunity to meet with some of the folks currently working in senior living and long-term care facilities. The people we’ve met are hard at work. They’re relentless in their pursuit to engage every tool at their disposal. They’re fighting day and night to ensure their communities stay safe and protected from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Unfortunately, risk of transmission from asymptomatic or presymptomatic cases (5,6) combined with lack of access to human testing, makes it quite difficult to eliminate every possibility of introducing the SARS-CoV-2 virus into their facilities. In order to stay ahead of the pandemic, industry professionals are preparing themselves with detailed, and comprehensive, emergency response plans aimed at controlling and mitigating the spread of infection should a confirmed case arise (7).

Environmental testing can play a crucial role in the development and implementation of emergency response plans by arming facilities with crucial data for tracking presence, prevalence, and effective elimination of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (3).

Protecting Communities and Vulnerable Populations

Seniors living in elder care communities represent one of the most vulnerable populations currently facing the coronavirus pandemic (7).

photo  older woman green juice

Facilities catering to these populations remain at high risk for exposure due to the need for staff who must continuously traffic in and out of the facility as they provide care for residents, and maintain daily operations. The risk for community transmission is also heightened, with most skilled nursing facilities in the US operating with occupancy rates near to capacity (8). The final burden these communities face is the reality that most members are among the highest at risk for severe illness, with over 80% of COVID-19 related deaths resulting in those over the age of 65.

As elder care facilities continue to navigate high risk for exposure, transmission, and severe illness resulting from COVID-19 infection, it’s imperative they are adequately equipped with an up-to-date emergency response plan at all times. Chief among these protocols are the cleaning and disinfecting procedures outlined by the CDC, EPA, and public health officials for specific application in long-term care facilities (2,9,10). Once public health guidelines have been implemented into routine policies and procedures, facilities require additional resources to validate techniques in order to ensure their methods have been effective.

Forming Partnerships to Extinguish the Virus

Many larger facilities have historically contracted with commercial cleaning companies to outsource routine cleaning and hygiene maintenance. Now, as these facilities introduce increased frequency and rigor to their standards, there is a growing demand to tap additional cleaning resources to lighten the lift and provide verifiable results.

The Enviral Check Partnership Program is aimed at strengthening and developing relationships with commercial cleaning companies and senior care facilities, to increase access to validated cleaning and disinfecting methods backed by real-time data. The goal in forming these partnerships is to boost emergency response plans by backing newly adopted cleaning protocols with quantifiable results.

As we continue to build partnerships, we are increasingly able to arm senior care facilities with concrete data that provides more than peace of mind. Results provided by environmental testing methods can inform crucial decisions aimed at mitigating the virus, and stifling further transmission throughout the community.

photo not today COVID-19

References

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