March 2020: Update to Handling COVID-19 Medical Waste
Stericycle’s Regulatory and Safety teams have been closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 (formally known as novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV), particularly developments made in infection control related to the proper management of medical waste generated during treatment of patients infected with the virus. We are managing waste generated during treatment of COVID-19 in healthcare facilities across the country.
The current position in Ireland is that the waste should be packaged and transported in accordance with the requirements for Category B pathogens and is suitable for alternative treatment disposal. This means that the waste can be packaged in yellow bags and consigned as infectious clinical waste suitable for treatment (EWC code 180103, UN number UN3291, Stericycle waste type HT).
Waste producers must ensure that COVID-19 waste is packaged in UN approved containers that are correctly sealed and marked. All waste must be packaged and presented for collection in accordance with our Waste Acceptance Criteria which can be found here.
Reusable sharps containers can be used in the normal way, however where Stericycle employs in-service technicians to exchange the containers in clinical areas, our team members cannot enter isolation rooms or wards where COVID-19 patients are being treated.
If the customer cannot facilitate disinfection of the container (e.g. using an external surface wipe or spray as part of room cleaning) and its removal from the isolation area to a transfer area, then single use disposable containers must be used.
At Stericycle, we are taking proactive measures to keep our team members, healthcare workers and communities safe in the wake of the current global Coronavirus situation. We have a global, cross-functional team monitoring the situation to ensure precautions are taken accordingly and communicated effectively.
To date at Stericycle:
At present, we will continue to service all our customers, taking into account the above precautions. Our regulatory and safety teams are continuously monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19, and we will adapt our practices as necessary should the situation evolve.