Coronavirus Outbreak: How to Protect Your Residents and Disinfect Your Multifamily Property From COVID-19
With increasing reports of outbreaks across the world and a few in the United States, we understand you have many questions and concerns about this virus.
- How serious is Coronavirus?
- What can I do to protect my residents?
- How can I keep my property clean?
- What steps can I take to prepare for more residents working remotely from their homes?
While you need to be aware of the current situation and take all necessary precautions, do not panic. As well, do not allow un-verified sources on social media and the internet to cause you undue stress. As with anything, just because you read it online, doesn’t mean it’s true.
What Is Coronavirus
Coronavirus is actually a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from a cold to more severe respiratory diseases. Coronaviruses have actually circulated for years and are mostly associated with the common cold.
The current Coronavirus strain, also known as COVD-19 or novel coronavirus, is a new strain that is genetically different and has not been previously identified in humans. This is important for a couple of reasons: no one is currently immune, antibodies have not yet been developed against it, and technically we are all potentially at risk for developing an infection. These reasons may help paint a clearer picture as to why the media is pushing news of this virus.
That being said, the Infectious Diseases Society of America President Dr. Thomas File stated in a recent USA Today article that the Coronavirus is something to be concerned about but there is currently no reason to panic.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. This also means it can be transferred between people.
Where Is Coronavirus Now
The novel Coronavirus, or COVD-19, seems to have originated in China — at least, that is where the first outbreak was recorded.
Currently, China is where the worst, and majority, of the cases, are occurring.
As of March 6, 2020, there have been 101,770 confirmed cases worldwide, most of the cases not being fatal.
Outside of China, the majority of outbreaks are in countries across the eastern hemisphere with only 164 in the United States.
As of the end of February, these are the international areas with sustained (ongoing) transmission and Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice:
- South Korea
That being said, this virus will likely continue to spread through human contact, which is why the following precautions are important to follow.
How to Protect Your Residents
Coronavirus is categorized as a person-to-person spread. An important note is that the virus can be spread by individuals who are infected but not showing any signs of sickness.
Keep your residents informed about Coronavirus preventative measures to ensure your residents know what symptoms to look out for and how to mitigate the spread of not just Coronavirus but the common cold or flu as well.
Post signs in your leasing office, put flyers in your residents’ mailboxes, send out an e-newsletter, or publish a post on your blog page.
Don’t have a blog page or an e-newsletter? We can help with that! Click here to learn about our content creation services.
Need help designing a flyer? We’ve also got you covered.
Here are a few tips to inform your residents on preventing the spread of Coronavirus:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose or ears
- When soap and hot water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and wash hands after
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects (i.e., phone, phone case, credit cards, purse, steering wheel, kitchen counters, money, etc.)
- Refrain from touching unnecessary things when in public
- Wash your hands after touching objects in public (i.e., doors, railings, elevators, etc.)
- Minimize traveling as much as possible and do not travel to areas with travel health notices
- Wearing a facemask does not work effectively as protection against coronavirus, it should only be used for people who show signs of sickness
As a property manager or owner, it’s also important for you to do your part in ensuring your property is always clean and appropriately disinfected. Here are a few tips to get started:
- Put hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol at the front desk in the leasing office, in the gym, and in other community-based areas
- Clean the leasing office and shared spaces every night with careful attention to disinfecting doorknobs, railings, and other items residents might touch
- Deep clean your fitness center and pool areas regularly and post signs encouraging residents to clean fitness equipment after use
- As more residents move to a remote-working environment during the outbreak, ensure your Wi-Fi connection is strong and that your business center is cleaned regularly (especially any computers, printers, and keyboards residents might touch)
The takeaway from these preventative measures is to minimize the chances of the virus being transmitted from resident-to-resident, should an outbreak occur at or near your apartment community. The more cautious and prepared you are now, the better it will be for your residents in the long-run.
For verified and real-time updates on Coronavirus, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.