What it means when companies ‘deep clean’ in the era of COVID-19

“Deep clean” is wording that has become common in the era of COVID-19. It’s typically used whenever locations, like businesses or schools, come in contact with COVID-19. But what exactly does it mean?

For example, Walmart in south Edmonton closed for a few days to do a “deep clean” after an outbreak. An Alberta meat-packing plant also closed for a week for a ‘deep clean’ after an employee tested positive for the virus.

READ MORE: Walmart in south Edmonton closed due to COVID-19 outbreak, 12 staff cases

Longtime cleaning company Scandinavian Building Services has been in operation since the 1950’s in Edmonton. They’ve always had a pandemic plan in place and revised it once the outbreak began.

The company said when cleaning a location for COVID-19, it should be called a “deep disinfection.”

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“A clean is just using your basic cleaning chemicals, your glass cleaner, whatever. But a deep disinfection is using a Health Canada approved disinfecting chemical to disinfect that location and getting that COVID out of there,” Amanda Kimmel, the director of health and safety at Scandinavian Building Services, said.

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Kimmel said the level of cleaning all depends on contact with the virus.

“[If] it’s not direct into that location… we might do a Level One type of disinfection where we go in, and we just do your touch points, we do a nice gentle clean throughout the location and then we disinfect.”

But if they’re called to a location to clean that had an outbreak — their cleaning team steps up to Level Two.

“Which is the disinfecting with that electrostatic sprayer as well as cleaning before we use it,” Kimmel said. “They (the cleaning team) wear full Tyvek suits with goggles, gloves, shoe covers and they go into the location with their electrostatic sprayer, which they’ve already been trained on.”

READ MORE: Alberta records 418 new cases of COVID-19 over 3 days this weekend, 1 additional death

Some businesses dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak are also using different language.  McDonald’s shut down a restaurant for a “thorough cleaning and sanitation by a certified third party,” after an employee was presumed positive for COVID-19.

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Regardless of what you call it, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said there are guidelines online for each individual sector to follow when getting surfaces scrubbed for COVID-19.

“Deep cleaning really means that an agent, a cleaning agent that has activity against viruses like COVID-19, is used on all surfaces in a particular area where there has been someone who’s infectious,” Dr. Hinshaw said.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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