Coronavirus — tips for preparation, biohazard cleaning, protective equipment and risk assessment, from ISSA

by Brianna Crandall — February 10, 2020 — ISSA, The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, and the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of ISSA, have released an official statement about the novel (new) coronavirus 2019-nCoV that causes the disease WHO named “COVID-19” on February 11, as well as a new Coronavirus webpage, PPE tip sheet, risk assessment tip sheet and links to other resources.

As cleaning industry leaders, ISSA is working to provide information about the latest best practices in cleaning, sanitization and disinfection in order to help reduce fear, decrease risk and minimize panic when it comes to human health and workplace safety.

Coronavirus webpage

ISSA created a new resource webpage, Coronavirus: Prevention and Control for the Cleaning Industry, for cleaning professionals and facilities managers (FMs) to access current information about the coronavirus. ISSA says it will update this page as important news develops.

As the page explains:

Coronaviruses (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). The 2019-nCoV 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 2019-nCoV is also zoonotic, scientists are still unsure.

As of January 29, 2020, there are more than 6,000 confirmed cases worldwide and the virus has been reported in as many as 20 different countries. It is actually difficult to provide an accurate number since the numbers are constantly changing. Human-to-human transmission has also been confirmed.

This page will have updates such as:

  • Implementing worker protection and using appropriate disinfectants
  • Practicing precautionary measures and reducing the risk of infection
  • Training and educational opportunities to reduce biohazard risks

Those interested can sign up on the new webpage for training events as well as e-mail updates, which will include the latest biorisk information and notifications on the coronavirus.

PPE tips sheet

ISSA and GBAC have also provided a tips sheet for personal protective equipment (PPE): Recommendations for Personal Protective Equipment for the Cleaning and Forensic Restoration Industry in Response to 2019nCoV, which is available on the ISSA website.

Risk assessment tips sheet

On February 7, ISSA and GBAC published a second tip sheet for cleaning and restoration professionals in which GBAC details recommendations for performing a proper risk assessment before cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting a potentially contaminated area.

ISSA Tips Sheet: Recommendations for Risk Assessment for the Cleaning and Forensic Restoration Industry in Response to 2019nCoV is also available on the ISSA website.

Official information

The new ISSA Coronavirus page links to official information from the following sites:

ISSA and GBAC continue to monitor the coronavirus and its impact on the cleaning industry, and will add updates to the Coronavirus page as needed. For those who require immediate assistance or have questions about cleaning and disinfection in high-risk scenarios, ISSA offers this contact: Patty Olinger, Executive Director of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, a Division of ISSA, at

See also “BOMA’s Coronavirus Quick Guide for FMs will help you prepare building occupants for a potential outbreak” on FMLink.