Oswego Health’s unsung heroes keep facilities clean and safe before and during the pandemic

Local News

OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — They are probably the most unseen of the frontline workers during this COVID-19 pandemic, but no less important.

Oswego Health has a team of about 49 people that make up its Environmental Services, EVS, unit.

These people are responsible for disinfecting every part of the 14 facilities that make up Oswego Health, including Oswego Hospital.

It’s a job they’ve been doing for years, long before COVID-19 showed up in Central New York.

“So we were already ready for COVID because it’s something we do every day,” says Joy Bifera, EVS manager for Oswego Health.

But she says they’ve stepped up their efforts even more because of the novel coronavirus, increasing staff in the emergency department so there are more routine rounds of cleaning there.

It’s just one of many areas the team is responsible for cleaning.

Bifera tells NewsChannel 9 “So we go around and we clean all the patient’s rooms, all high touch surfaces, every square inch of the hospital, and not just here in the hospital but all of our other facilities throughout the organization. We’re in the background wiping everything down that anybody can touch.”

The EVS team, she says, uses hospital grade, EPA registered disinfectant.

They use it not just inpatient rooms but for wiping down waiting rooms, door handles, stairwell railings, telephones, elevators, floors, chairs all over their facilities.

Bifera says right now EVS workers wear goggles and masks and if there is a suspect COVID patient or any other kind of isolation then they do get into gowns too.

She adds, “Every single one of our staff do take pride in what they do and they are here for the patients and the staff and their families.”

The EVS crew is also taking special precautions by taking down cubicle curtains as one more way to protect everyone during the pandemic.

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