As many of us work in an office setting, we experience an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19.We spend long hours in close proximity to our colleagues in a confined space. This article will outline how COVID-19 spreads, work situations to look out for, a daily 2 minute guide for cleaning your work station, and when to get tested.

COVID-19 is spread through droplets and aerosols produced by an infected person. When someone who is infected coughs or sneezes, he/she produces droplets containing the COVID-19 virus which infects others it comes into contact with. This happens either directly through a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth, or indirectly when a person comes into contact through a contaminated surface.

The key work areas to look out for are at your individual work station, meeting rooms, and the shared pantry. Individual work stations are where we spend the largest portion of our day in front of a computer, with a keyboard and mouse which have exposed surface areas that we touch daily, but rarely clean. Meeting rooms are where we are exposed to many of our colleagues, where we might breathe in contaminated air after a cough or sneeze from someone. Lastly, the shared pantry is where many offices keep shared cutlery and utensils, which serve as a vehicle for droplets from a sick person.

In order to minimize the risk of transmission when you are encountering these areas at work, there are a number of simple, yet fast and effective ways to clean your work station. Follow the steps below which should take less than 2 minutes to minimize your risk of exposure (Safe Work Australia, 2020).

  • Have hand sanitizer and disposable detergent wet wipes at your disposal
  • Wash your hands after using the toilet, taking a break, or touching your mask
  • Remember to wipe down your key board, mouse, phone, contact points and the desk with detergent wet wipes
  • Wash shared cutlery and utensils at the shared pantry before use
  • Wear a face mask at your workplace, especially when you are speaking with colleagues or in meeting rooms
  • Minimise exposure risk while on breaks by distancing from your colleagues, or eating outside

Now with a better understanding of how COVID-19 spreads, risk at workplaces, steps to minimize risk and when to get tested, you are able to take a step forwards in protecting yourself, colleagues, and family and friends from COVID-19 infection.

References

Safe Work Australia. (2020). How to clean and disinfect your workplace - COVID-19.

                https://covid19.swa.gov.au/doc/how-clean-and-disinfect-your-workplace-covid-19

Kate Rowan-Robinson
RN, BN, GradDipSexol, MACN

As a key member of the Clinical Governance Team leading our Nurses, Kate has also contributed to the wider nursing community through her work outside Sonic HealthPlus. Kate has had several articles published in the International Journal of Nursing Practice, Nursing Standard, British Journal of Community Nursing and Public Health Nursing.

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COVID-19 UPDATE: All persons attending a medical appointment at a Sonic HealthPlus clinic will be required to complete a COVID-19 Triage Assessment form. If you are not vaccinated or fully vaccinated, we will need to undertake a risk assessment, which may include Rapid Antigen Testing.

Please note: Patients who attend for their medical assessment presenting with flu-like symptoms or have recently travelled from a COVID hotspot may be turned away.

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