Information about the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) is constantly changing. This leaves essential business and healthcare facilities scrambling to find ways to ensure their employees, customers’ and patients’ safety. It is crucial to know if and when the virus has infiltrated a facility in order to minimize the impact that it could have. Now that non-essential businesses are beginning to re-open, there are even more people wondering how they will protect themselves and their employees while returning to work. C-level leadership and facility managers will be the ones to determine what the post-pandemic work environment will look like, and now is the time to plan for a safe return to work.
It is for this reason that InVivo Biosystems has partnered with Enviral Tech, a biotech company building environmental testing kits and providing lab testing services for the detection of the COVID-19 virus on surface and air samples. Enviral Tech enables you to navigate outbreaks and alerts, and assist in your plan to protect and reassure their employees.
What is environmental testing?
Scientists, healthcare professionals, and governments have been using environmental sampling to better understand how the virus is transmitted, potential infectivity modes, and monitoring of hygiene/cleaning protocols. Environmental testing has been used since the start of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, where surface samples were collected by wiping sponges or swabs over various surfaces to collect a snapshot of where potential virus transmission points were in a hospital setting. This method has continued to be used to investigate what specific materials and objects are key suspects in viral transmission.
The three main sources of environmental samples are: surface swabs, air samples, and water/waste samples. All environmental sampling methods are intended to detect virus independent of the presence of an infected individual. In addition, the sampling swabs used are made specifically for environmental use; in fact, they are not fit for human testing, which means that Enviral Tech’s Surface Testing Kits do not interfere with the healthcare supply chain.
Surface samples are collected by wiping the surface of the test object with the swabs that come in the Surface Check kit. It is recommended that you test surfaces in high traffic areas, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, faucet handles, bench space, front desk, light switches, ventilation exits, soap/sanitizer dispensers, handrails, armrests, phones, and toilets*. The swabs are then placed into collection tubes that contain a buffer which inactivates the virus and prepares it for testing when it is received at the lab.
Enviral Tech guarantees results within 24 hours of receipt of the sample at their lab in Eugene, OR. Your results are sent to you via email in order to have the information as quickly as possible. If your samples are negative (meaning that no trace of SARS-CoV-2 was detected in your samples)positive, you will also receive a dated certificate that you can show to your patients, and their families, and to your employees.
Essential businesses such as grocery stores, hospitals, elder care facilities, and more have needed to ensure their environments are safe and free of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, but without proper detection there is no way to know whether their rigorous cleaning protocols are doing enough to keep their employees and customers safe. As non-essential businesses begin to re-open across the country, it is even more important to ensure that workplaces and areas where people may congregate remain free of the virus so as to not create a “second wave” and overwhelm our already exhausted healthcare facilities. Enviral Tech’s surface testing kits enable you to safely perform COVID-19 testing and receive the results quickly so you can stay on top of any potential outbreak.
As you grapple with the question of “when is the right time for me to return to my lab?” or, if you already have, “when is the right time for me to invite my employees/grad students/postdocs/etc. back into the lab?”, we want to help you make an informed decision. That is why we have partnered with Enviral Tech in order to offer you environmental testing kits you can use to determine whether your facility is free of SARs-CoV-2. With the quick and repeatable results of environmental testing, you can confidently determine when is the right time to bring your employees back, and give them peace-of-mind that they are returning to a safe and clean facility.
*please note this is not an extensive list and high traffic areas may vary from facility to facility, use your best judgement to determine what areas may be best for you to test at your own facility in order to get the most accurate results.