COVID-19 boosts business for cleaning company

CLEANING company Sanitize-iT Jamaica has burgeoned into a go-to business amid the coronavirus pandemic as companies increase their demand for its sanitisation services at a time of surging infections locally.

Edward Wilson, the director of Sanitize-iT Jamaica, told the Jamaica Observer that for October, November and December last year, the company received nine COVID-19-related requests, which was the slowest period for the business since the onset of the pandemic. However, the number of requests has almost doubled since the start of the year, with the company receiving 17 related sanitisation requests up to last week.

“Lately, we have been seeing numerous amounts of recurring requests for our sanitisation services. February and March had more churches and government institutions contacting us; these entities also reached out for services before the pandemic, but not as much. The services being requested are deep sanitisation and carpet cleaning — we have been getting back-to-back calls,” Wilson said.

He said, too, that the company is also seeing an increase in the demand for the sanitisation products that it supplies.

“We have trained more staff, procured more equipment as well as personal protective equipment,” Wilson explained, adding that entities are reaching out to Sanitize-iT Jamaica concerning workplace clusters and other positive COVID-19 cases.

“We haven’t gotten any requests from any hospitals but we have [received requests] from health centres, doctors’ offices, and pharmacies. We have conducted services for a section of a university, but no regular school.

“The process is always intense. First, we reiterate the safety procedures with the staff by having a meeting before arriving at the job site. Also, we highlight the importance of them looking out for each other with what we call a buddy system,” he added, noting Sanitize-iT Jamaica has to report to the Ministry of Health and Wellness after each operation.

Jamaica is currently seeing more COVID-19 infections, with various records being reached in recent weeks. In just one week — March 13-March 20 — the country registered 6,030 new COVID-19 cases.

Also, there have been an additional 13,915 cases and 322 deaths since January, bringing the tally for the total number of confirmed cases since the onset of the virus to 35,338 up to March 20. Of the overall tally, 18,426 are active cases and 16,1330 people have recovered. Additionally, a total of 533 people have died from the virus.

Pointing to October last year, when the country had a little over 100 deaths and just over 7,100 cases, Wilson contended that the once-palpable alarm that surrounded COVID-19 has dwindled.

“The scare factor has decreased, people and organisations have adapted to the new normal which is social distancing, the wearing [of] masks, the constant washing or sanitising of hands. A number of organisations have put measures in place to protect their staff and customers as much as possible,” he said.

Wilson added: “During the previous wave of COVID-19 our customers were asking for an economical means to protect themselves from the coronavirus. These requests have continued in recent times which led us to become a distributor of EPA [United States Environmental Protection Agency]-certified intermediate disinfectants and the equipment to apply it to ensure our customers are safe.”

To carry out the deep cleaning operation Wilson said the Sanitize-iT Jamaica team has to enter contaminated areas, risking possible exposure. As a result, workers are interviewed and reminded of safety protocols before engaging in the deep cleaning process. After that, the task begins with walls being hand-washed using antibacterial soap and water, immediately followed by a rinse with water.

“Doors, rails, and all highly touched areas are cleaned using soap and water, and then sanitised using an intermediate-level disinfectant.

“All areas such as inside the offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls are carefully sprayed with disinfectant and wiped. All desks, lockers, electronics, and cabinets are disinfected using a mist applicator. Telephones and headsets are sprayed with at least 70 per cent alcohol and flooring is cleaned and disinfected,” he said.

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