How to manage COVID-19 medical waste

March 25, 2020

An OSHA-compliant medical waste manager may be your best bet.

In the world of healthcare, America is currently faced with one of the most daunting challenges in recent memory. The coronavirus has swept through the world in a very short period, causing widespread concern for many countries worldwide. As laboratories the world over race for a vaccine, everyone must do their part to slow and contain the spread of the virus as best that we can. As practitioners in the healthcare industry, you are at the forefront of this fight and must ensure that your practices are clean, your patients are safe, and perhaps most importantly, that all COVID-19 medical waste is disposed of as safely and effectively as possible. 

The Unique Challenges of COVID-19

The threat of COVID-19 took the world by storm relatively quickly, in part because at the time of the initial outbreak, only a few patients required any sort of hospitalization. The surprise global effect of COVID-19 has caused a shortage in certain supplies, such as masks. Indeed, solid waste such as personal protective equipment represents the most considerable volume of waste generated by the pandemic. In contrast to other epidemics of the past, such as the Ebola crisis, patients themselves are not producing large quantities of biohazard or pathological waste. If there is a silver lining to be observed in this crisis, this is certainly it. 

It is important to note that any waste that has been in contact with a facility that is housing a COVID-19 patient or a person who has been exposed to the coronavirus, including decontamination materials, is to be treated as regulated medical waste. 

 

Risk of Contagion

Despite how it has been largely advertised to the public, the novel coronavirus is not a truly airborne disease, as the primary means of transference are thought to be through respiratory droplets (produced from a cough or a sneeze). It has also been thought that persons who touch a surface that has been touched by a carrier of the disease and then touch their own mouth or other facial orifices could also contract the disease this way, though this has not been thought of as the primary means for the spread of the disease. Furthermore, this means of transference can be circumvented through habitual discipline. Considering all of these factors, it is very unlikely for a person who is not in regular contact with a carrier of the disease to contract it. The CDC has recommended that control of COVID-19 waste be handled through routine procedure, with personal protective equipment standard to infection control. For those workers that may be in close proximity to carriers of the disease, airborne protective equipment is advised as well. 

 

Medical Waste Experts are Standing By to Tackle the Challenge

As always, your best bet in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic is to contract a trusted and OSHA-compliant medical waste management expert that can handle all of your needs on your schedule. Drivers in the medical waste community are prepared with airborne safety masks as well as sanitizer ready in their trucks. The novel coronavirus pandemic is certainly one of the greatest challenges that the American healthcare system has ever faced, but by following strict regulation and by observing all safety protocols every step of the way, it is a challenge that can be overcome.