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WHEN TO CHECK SURFACES FOR SARS-CoV-2

Updated: Aug 27, 2020

Environmental Monitoring for Coronavirus on Indoor Contact Surfaces​:

Here are some useful guidelines and carefully developed best practices (published below) on cleanliness & viral environmental monitoring, trend analysis, risk assessment and remediation​ for the global pandemic.


Sources: Eurofins

For the full white paper and detailed sources, please contact Mike@brownsbiosecure.com


Contributions also from Charm Sciences.


Thank you for the above company collaborations.​


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Can the virus spread through waste pipes?

Developing a viral environmental monitoring program ​



We can help by monitoring SARS-CoV-2 on common touch surfaces

We can also show surface cleanliness reports, trends, and compliance

Transmission of COVID-19 primarily occurs when respiratory droplets from sneezes or coughs from infected people spread to those in close proximity

People may also contract the virus from infected animals (both domestic and non-domestic)

People may contract the virus by touching a contaminated surface or object and then subsequently touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

Why Monitor your Environment?​

  • Infected individuals can shed virus particles onto inanimate surfaces

  • Such surfaces are called fomites

  • Hard surfaces and equipment are especially vulnerable to such contamination

  • The virus can be spread by asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic, and symptomatic individuals who are infected with the virus

  • Infected individuals likely start shedding the virus up to 48 hours before the onset of symptoms.

  • Since the virus can survive up to 72 hours on inanimate objects, disease transmission can occur from contact with contaminated hard surfaces and equipment

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus was detectable on cardboard for up to 24 hours and 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel.
  • The apparent longevity of the virus on surfaces and the risk potential of such contaminated surfaces, highlights the importance of environmental monitoring for virus detection


  • Even in the absence of employees being symptomatic or testing positive for COVID-19, the risk of cross-contamination from surfaces is real

Implement an Environmental Monitoring Program to monitor for and mitigate against the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from your environment to your clients, employees, visitors, guests and patients.

Conducting Coronavirus Environmental Sampling

  • Survey your facility for risk related to highly-trafficked touch points and personnel hygienic practices

  • Determine how you will react to information generated from your sampling plan:

  • no positives

  • sporadic positives

  • consistent positives

Many industries implement an Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP). An EMP helps detect pathogens and allergens to determine if sanitation programs and personal hygiene practices are effective against cross-contamination
  • A coronavirus EMP plan including Charm SARS-CoV-2 Surface Swabs will help indicate if SARS-CoV-2 is being transferred on contact surfaces and equipment in your indoor area

  • To determine if SARS-CoV-2 is present on contact surfaces and equipment and to establish a baseline of your environment’s current state, you should sample your environment during or at the end of each shift

  • If you choose to sample at the end of each shift you should do so before cleaning and sanitation takes place in order to establish a true baseline.

  • A coronavirus EMP plan is a lagging indicator of risk in the environment given that time-to-result is 48 hours upon laboratory sample receipt.

  • Laboratory ordering enquiries are welcomed: https://www.brownsbiosecure.com/get-a-quote

  • When you receive a positive result, it’s important to conduct additional testing directly after cleaning and sanitation to determine if your procedures are working effectively to remove the risk associated with SARS-CoV-2 present in your environment.

A well-designed routine coronavirus EMP will include multiple samples from various areas throughout the indoor area or facility. It’s important to understand that the size of the space does not necessarily dictate the number of specimens that should be collected. Rather, the number of identified high-risk commonly touched surfaces should dictate the number of sampling sites.

Environmental Monitoring Flow Chart

What To Do With High Risk Sampling Sites

  • Conditions which may impact the sample results, should be documented such as the following:

  • An employee testing positive for COVID-19​

  • Changes to cleaning and sanitation practices,​

  • Positive or negative pressure airflow​

  • Facility and other indoor maintenance

High-risk sampling sites may include but are not limited to railings, arm-rests, time clocks, doors, latches, screens, tables, hand washing stations, shared keyboards, shared equipment and utensils, break rooms, locker rooms, touch-screens, buttons, etc.

Recommended Sampling Sites Based on Risk

of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission