In a bit of irony, the Clean Buildings Expo (CBE) and National Facilities Management and Technology (NFMT) Conference and Expo management has been postponed because of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The show was scheduled for March 17-19 in Baltimore. The event is now slated for August 11-13.

There's likely no better time for the information that was slated for the clean-building conference than now. But that's the current state of the world given the pandemic.

As governments develop strategies to lead their citizens through these developments, and consumers are trying to navigate their lives, work, and families amidst headlines of food shortages, employment stoppages, and societal norms shutting down, there's an important role to be played by facility managers.

When undertaking a facility clean sweep, keep in mind that coronavirus infections can be transmitted through the air through coughs and sneezes, close personal contact — such as touching or shaking hands — and touching contaminated surfaces then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.

People can protect themselves from the virus by washing their hands with soap and water; avoiding touching their eyes, nose or mouth; and keeping away from sick people, according to the CDC.

Those who manage the cleaning of facilities should also disinfect surfaces, especially high-touch surfaces, with an EPA registered disinfectant with human coronavirus and SARS-associated coronavirus claims.

If possible, cleaning crews should wear surgical masks, disposable gloves, and use a bleach solution or appropriate disinfectant with indication of effectiveness against coronavirus.

Additionally, crews should use a disinfectant or bleach and mop the floor. Care should be taken to use disposable cloths or rags to wipe toilet surfaces and frequently touched areas, such as handles, doorknobs, armrests, switches, etc.

One note of caution, however: Do not use a spray to apply disinfectant as it can splash and further spread any virus.Any washable fabrics should be laundered, as well.

When ridding of waste and cleaning materials, it’s strongly suggested to use double-lined trash bags.

According to the CDC, patients with confirmed COVID-19 infections have had mild-to-severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Signs of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Companies like Clorox say their products can kill the virus.

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), which provides training, guidance, certification, crisis management, assistance and leadership to government, commercial and private entities looking to mitigate and address biological threats and crises and recover from them, is conducting training opportunities and webinars.

Potential attendees can register for upcoming events and sign up for e-mail updates to stay informed about the latest news of outbreaks and natural disasters.