Coronavirus: Prevention and Control for the Cleaning Industry


This information is current as of February 25, 2020

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus (CoV) refers to a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV or the Wuhan coronavirus, is a novel or new coronavirus that was first identified in humans in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

While not common, coronaviruses can be zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted between animals and people. This was the case with SARS-CoV, which was found to be transmitted from civet cats to humans, and MERS-CoV, which was found to be transmitted from dromedary camels to humans. While there is speculation that SARS-CoV-2 is also zoonotic, scientists are still unsure.

As of February 23, 2020, there are more than 70,000 confirmed cases worldwide, including over 2,000 fatalities, and the virus has been reported in dozens of countries. Health authorities are having difficulty discerning an accurate count since the numbers are constantly changing. Human-to-human transmission has also been confirmed.

ISSA and the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of ISSA, have issued a statement about the Wuhan coronavirus and will continue to monitor and provide updated information about the outbreak. The association is committed to providing our members and communities with resources on how to clean and disinfect spaces and how to reduce the risk to human health.

Training and Education Opportunities

GBAC is also holding hands-on training opportunities and webinars.  You can register for upcoming events and sign up for e-mail updates to stay informed about the latest news of outbreaks and natural disasters.

GBAC Tip Sheets

In order to help the cleaning industry better prepare for and prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, GBAC has designed a series of downloadable tip sheets

Precautionary Measures

You can help prevent yourself from getting and spreading the Wuhan coronavirus–and other respiratory illnesses–by following these steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. (Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives) Use 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

More Information

Latest News

GBAC Interview on Coronavirus: Preparation and Precautions

Patty Olinger, GBAC executive director, recently participated in nationwide radio interview in which she discussed the coronavirus crisis. Tune into the full interview or key highlights below.

WRVA Radio Full Interview| Feb 5, 2020

Cleaners are protectors of health

We have to be cautious

What are the symptoms?

Facemasks vs. Respirators

Is there a vaccine?

Surgical masks and their uses