As the rate of infected novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients has surged, the healthcare industry has quickly adapted to testing and treating the influx of new cases. This has led to the rise of pop-up testing centers and temporary hospitals across the country. These sites have been adapted to take on the complexity of testing and treating patients, generating biohazardous medical waste which requires prompt and safe disposal.
As the leader in regulated medical waste disposal services, Stericycle quickly mobilized to help these operations since the onset of the crisis. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other regulatory agencies have not released any new regulations specific to the handling or disposal of COVID-19 waste, it is important to ensure that existing guidelines are followed to ensure safe and compliant disposal.
Stericycle has partnered with hundreds of healthcare facilities across the U.S. to fight COVID-19, from quarantine sites, to temporary hospitals, as well as independent and retail testing centers, including:
- The Javits Center - New York, NY
- The USNS Comfort Hospital Ship - New York, NY
- The USNS Mercy Hospital Ship - Los Angeles, CA
- McCormick Place - Chicago, IL
Across these sites we are taking the necessary measures to keep our team members safe and healthy. Drivers are equipped with the appropriate personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of infection and are following the recommendations of the CDC to protect themselves and healthcare workers during waste pickup and container drop-off.
Planning for the Unexpected
The very nature of a pandemic is that it is continuously evolving. To that end, we have updated business continuity plans that establish staffing and processing facility contingencies. Because our staff is located around the country and we have cross-training capability on different functions, we are able to rapidly deploy operational team members to alternate locations in the event of staffing shortages.
Moreover, each of our transportation and treatment locations have pre-designated alternate facilities in case a location must completely shut down. These redundancies allow us to quickly shift workloads and waste volume to minimize the risk of service disruption. We also continuously monitor our supply chain to proactively mitigate major risks that would limit our ability to deliver service.
Emergency preparedness has long been a company priority and we have built contingency plans as part of our standard operating procedures. Over the years, we have activated these plans in response to severe weather events, outages and other unexpected incidents. In light of the unique and unprecedented circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we have revisited and adapted these plans to ensure we are able to effectively manage waste throughout the crisis.
We're in it Together, and We Always Have Been
With more than 30 years of experience partnering with healthcare organizations, we recognize the importance of continuing to serve you reliably, safely and compliantly during this pandemic. Discover more on how we can help you protect what matters during COVID-19.