The McLean Community Center last week underwent a thorough sanitization in an effort to keep its customers and employees safe from viral and bacterial transmissions and infections.
Center officials paid McLean-based bio-purification company Purifi LLC $9,852 to treat all 54,000 square feet of indoor space at the facility, located at 1234 Ingleside Ave.
Officials on Oct. 1 ordered the center to be vacated by 3 p.m. so the company could spend the next seven hours disinfecting the facility with a fine chemical mist.
Workers applied two coats of chlorine dioxide, a disinfectant, then added a protective coating of the antimicrobial chemical organosilane. Both chemicals are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and workers applied them electrostatically, meaning that their sprayers added a positive charge to the mist, allowing it to coat surfaces more aggressively, evenly and efficiently.
“We are taking these additional steps to limit the risk of virus transmission from contact surfaces in our facility as a protective measure to our staff and our patrons entering our facility,” said George Sachs, the center’s executive director.
The mist did not pose a threat to electronics, computer equipment, artwork or other sensitive items, Sachs said. The only special precaution staff members took was to remove plants, he said.
According to center officials, the spray will continue to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses (including COVID-19) on surfaces for 30 to 60 days. The treatment is safe for humans and animals, does not leave a residue and leaves surfaces safe to touch after 20 minutes. The coating also is durable and remains active on heavily touched and frequently cleaned surfaces such as counter tops, tables, desks, chairs and door handled.
Center staff who reported for work the morning of Oct. 2 said the facility “had a sense of freshness and cleanliness,” Sachs said. “Those were their initial reactions, but there were no noticeable differences physically.”
Sachs said he was unaware if any other county agencies were considering the use of such disinfectant methods, but added a vendor’s representative had said those EPA-registered chemicals were being used widely across the country and recently had been authorized for use in Fairfax County Public Schools.
Purifi took readings of the center’s surfaces before undertaking the cleaning and will take comparative readings weekly, with results posts at www.purifiservices.com.
Another treatment likely won’t be ordered for 45 to 60 days, possibly longer, depending on bacterial and viral data collected in the weeks following the initial spraying, Sachs said.
The center also has enhanced its cleaning protocols, in line with guidelines from the Fairfax County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sachs said. Center officials ask everyone entering the facility to wear face masks, practice social-distancing, wash and sanitize their hands, and screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to the center.
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