Environmental Services staff at St. Francis speaks on working the frontlines to fight COVID-19

Local News

MONROE, La (05/20/20) — Along with the nurses and doctors working on the front lines, the housekeeping staff is just as important in the fight against COVID-19.

“It was scary, we’ve never experienced this…not as long as I’ve been here, so we have to do a different cleaning,” said Irene Dennis, Environmental Services worker.

A year ago, deep cleaning the hospital during a pandemic was something no one even thought would happen.

“So whenever we’re dealing with COVID, we’re required to wipe the walls from top to bottom, and you’re sanitizing everything in the room using a EPA approved agent,” said Nina Johnson, Environmental Services Director.

Before COVID-19 it would take about 30 minutes to clean a hosptial room, with COVID, it takes about one and a half hours to clean, plus a quality check for cleanliness after.

“You have to do it right, you don’t want to miss a step because we’re responsible for the frontline defense and we don’t want to start the spread, we want to stop the spread,” said Johnson.

“We sterile clean it everyday. And we come by everyday and spray everyday because they’re still here and we pass by the rooms and make sure everything is okay,” said Dennis.

Behind every set of doctors and nurses, is the Environmental Services crew making sure the rooms are safe. Johnson says she’s proud to serve during a pandemic and do her part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“It allows me to walk in my purpose and allows me to navigate others to doing something greater than ourselves, which is the mission of this hospital is to heal…and we’re walking in love,” said Johnson.

Not only does cleaning the hospital rooms take twice as long, the amount of waste to clean and dispose of increased by the pound. The Environmental Services director says adding the disposal of so much waste has been another challenge to overcome in the fight against COVID-19.

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