COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Safety for EVS Workers

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If you are an EVS worker, you have a right to know the following

  • If you’re entering a room that has a suspected (PUI) or confirmed COVID-19 patient
  • If you’re entering a room from which a PUI or confirmed COVID-19 patient was discharged
  • How the hospital is ventilating rooms, and the wait time until pathogens are cleared from the air
  • What kind of PPE is being used by nurses and other bedside caregivers, if different from EVS
  • How to properly use the hospital’s disinfecting products, and how to safely handle trash and laundry

Staying safe while cleaning rooms of COVID-19 patients or suspected patients (PUIs)

  • The hospital must put clear signs, in multiple languages, outside a PUI or confirmed COVID-19 patient’s room.
  • EVS workers should not do daily cleaning, or go into patient rooms before patients have been discharged and the room has been properly ventilated. Nursing staff should do daily cleaning.
  • If you are told to enter a room while a PUI or COVID-19 patient is still there, or before the room has been properly ventilated, you should be given an N95 mask, or at least the same PPE as any nurse or bedside caregiver.
  • Talk to nurses and bedside staff to understand what PPE they’re using, and what PPE they’re fighting for. Together, you can press the hospital to provide all workers the best possible protection.
  • Even when not cleaning rooms, you should be given a surgical mask to wear throughout your shift. This prevents workers from infecting each other.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I need to wait before going into a COVID-19 patient’s room for terminal cleaning?

Wait for the room to be properly ventilated before going in. In a typical treatment room, it takes 69 minutes for the virus to be removed from the air, before you can safely enter. For some rooms, it may take less.

Talk to your steward or NUHW organizer if you don’t think you are being given enough time.

When you enter the room after waiting, you should wear a surgical mask, gown, and gloves.

What if the room had a patient with suspected COVID-19 (a PUI)?

Take all the same safety precautions as you would with a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If the hospital directs you or a coworker to act in a way that you believe threatens your safety, or the safety of others, contact your NUHW organizer.

What about cleaning products?

Hospitals should use products registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to kill this virus, and provide instructions and training on their proper use.

CAUTION: Some products may cause/worsen asthma. If you have coughing, red eyes, wheezing, sneezing, or a runny nose when using a new product, notify your manager and NUHW organizer immediately.

How do I safely handle trash & laundry?

As long as you have the right PPE (at least a surgical mask, gown, and gloves for terminal cleaning), you do not need to take any special precautions with trash.

The hospital should have special rules for laundry from isolation rooms — follow these rules for laundry from all PUIs and confirmed COVID-19 patients.

Linen room workers should at least be given gloves and surgical masks.