TEXAS—February 13, 2020—Instructors from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of ISSA, recently trained biohazard cleaning crews in Texas on best practices for coronavirus response, according to Fox4 News. Coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China and has been known as “Wuhan coronavirus,” now has an official name from the World Health Organization (WHO): COVID-19. When the GBAC coronavirus training occurred last week, there had been no reported cases of the infection in Texas; however, the precautionary training turned out to be timely as the CDC has just confirmed the 15th U.S. case of COVID-19, and the patient is in San Antonio, Texas, according to NBC DFW.
The patient was in a group that recently traveled to Hubei Province, China, a high-risk area for the virus. When the group arrived in the U.S. on February 7, they were placed under a federal 14-day quarantine at JBSA-Lackland base near San Antonio.
“This is the first person under quarantine at JBSA-Lackland who had symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently isolated and receiving medical care at a designated hospital nearby,” the CDC said in a statement. NBC DFW also reports that the CDC expects to diagnose more cases in the coming days from other passengers returning from Wuhan, China. Currently, there are still 600 people under federal quarantine.
Although the number of cases in the U.S. has remained low, COVID-19 has sickened more than 60,000 people worldwide to date. The WHO’s official name for the disease signifies it as the coronavirus strain discovered in 2019, according to NBC News. There are many different kinds of coronaviruses that cause a range of symptoms from the common cold to potentially deadly respiratory illness, as with some cases of COVID-19. Naming the illness is important not just as a medical designation, but also to ensure a disease is not associated with a particular region, animal, or group. NBC reports that such associations can have detrimental social and economic impacts by creating a stigma related to the disease.
With the worldwide cases of COVID-19 increasing and the newest U.S. case just confirmed in Texas, health officials are encouraging preparedness even though the risk in the United States remains low. That’s where the GBAC coronavirus training and resources come in. “There’s a potential pandemic coming our way and we want to be prepared for that as much as possible,” said Patty Olinger, executive director of GBAC, according to Fox4 News. “The potential of having a problem is low, but if you watch what’s going on in the world you realize the numbers keep going up.”
GBAC trained the Texas crews in proper protocol for personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as how to use new technology to disinfect areas of possible coronavirus exposure. Additionally, GBAC has released two tip sheets for coronavirus response:
- Recommendations for Personal Protective Equipment for the Cleaning and Forensic Restoration Industry in Response to COVID-19
- Recommendations for Risk Assessment for the Cleaning and Forensic Restoration Industry in Response to COVID-19
Keep checking back for all of Cleanfax’s news and updates on the coronavirus outbreak, and be sure to visit the ISSA resource page, www.issa.com/coronavirus, where you can access current information about COVID-19.