Press Club

Here’s What Happens When There’s a Coronavirus Case in an Apartment Building

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Arlington continues to grow, those in apartments and condos might be wondering about the risks of living in close proximity to others who might test positive for the virus.

It’s worth noting that Arlington County’s health director said earlier this month that “the vast majority” of apartment dwellers have nothing to worry about in terms of their building’s heating and air conditioning systems — the air handling systems “should not lead to spread” of the virus.

But should a coronavirus case be reported in a building, there’s still concern about surfaces and people the infected person might have come into contact with. A memo forwarded to ARLnow from a resident in an apartment building near Ballston details some of the steps landlords are taking to mitigate such coronavirus exposures.

Key to the response: notification of residents and deep cleaning of the building’s hallways and common areas.

The memo is below, with the address and other details redacted to protect the privacy of the infected person.

TO:  Residents
FROM:  Dittmar Management Team
DATE:  March 20, 2020
RE:  Deep cleaning program

As you are aware, earlier today we were notified by a resident that a person living in the same apartment was diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus. Dittmar has not been notified of any diagnosis directly from the resident, the CDC or the Arlington County Public Health Department.

Later this afternoon, our third party service provider will begin sanitizing all public areas through a direct contact process. As an additional precaution we have contracted the company to fog the hallway with the EPA approved chemical Sporacide. In order to minimize the impact on your residency the work will be done overnight. At 9:30pm, the company will begin covering and taping off all apartment doors from the hallway. They will effectively be making the hallway a containment zone. Once the hallway is contained, they will begin a six hour fog. Please do not return to your home after 9:30pm or plan to depart until at least 5am. They will have staff on site throughout. At the conclusion of the sanitizing process, the plastic will be removed and you are free to leave your apartment.

In the unlikely event that the fire alarm is activated and you are required to evacuate, the fogging will stop and you may tear away the plastic barrier.

Please continue to follow the guidelines established by the CDC.  The website is https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.  Additionally, Arlington County has established a Covid-19 hotline to answer questions that you may have.  The number is 703/228-7999.

Thank you in advance for working with us to maintain a healthy home for all.

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