Environmental Considerations

Please note that as things change rapidly, Q&As and guidelines will be updated. Review this website often to ensure you have the most up to date information or consult your leader if you have concerns or identify discrepencies. 

Routine Practices for environmental infection control, including PHC/VCH-approved products for cleaning and disinfection, are effective and recommended for enveloped viruses such as COVID-19. 

In addition to infection control strategies that include early identification and source control with Droplet & Contact Precautions, Routine Practices that support using appropriate hand hygiene and personal protective equipment following a point of care risk assessment, respiratory etiquette, patient placement, waste management and cleaning and disinfection further prevent transmission of COVID-19. 

Patient Care Equipment

  • Dedicate all reusable equipment to patients on Droplet and Contact precautions for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 whenever possible. Items that cannot be dedicated must be discarded/sent home with the patient or cleaned and disinfected with a PHC-approved product prior to use with another patient.  
  • Patient care equipment includes any item that will come into direct contact with the patient or their immediate environment, e.g., equipment and supplies, toys, books/magazines, electronic devices (tablets), and personal belongings. Refer to the PHC Master Equipment Cleaning Manual for specific direction.   
  • Single-use disposable equipment & supplies should be discarded after use. 

Environmental Cleaning

  • PHC/VCH routine cleaning procedures for Droplet & Contact Precautions are recommended for daily and terminal cleaning of patient care areas with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
  • PHC/VCH routine environmental cleaning procedures include twice daily cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces in emergency departments for the duration of influenza season.

Handling Linen, Dishes and Cutlery

  • Regular meal service delivery will continue unless otherwise directed by the Medical Health Officer.
  • For COVID-19 confirmed cases, meal service will be on disposable ware. This will reduce the need for care staff to use additional PPEs to retrieve meal trays.
  • All meal carts will be cleaned when leaving COVID-19 cohort units.
  • Handle soiled linen with minimal agitation and place directly in linen bag without sorting.  Do not overfill bags. 

Waste Management

  • No special precautions are recommended; routine practices are sufficient.
  • Wear gloves to remove waste from patient/treatment rooms.   Remove gloves and perform hand hygiene.
  • Dispose of sharps immediately after use in a puncture-proof, biohazard container.
  • Segregate biomedical waste per PHC/VCH policy
This page last updated Mar 26, 2020 5:43pm PDT