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, including isolation sites.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has determined that medical waste generated in the treatment of COVID-19 patients and patients under investigation (PUIs) be managed in accordance with routine procedures.
• There are no additional packaging or transportation requirements from Transport Canada (TC) and the Ministry of Environment (MOE) for regulated medical waste or sharps.
Though new regulations or guidance documents have not been created by the CDC and PHAC or other regulatory agencies specific to handling regulated medical waste or sharps derived from the treatment of COVID-19 patients, Stericycle would like to remind our customers of the importance of following current regulations, especially those from Transport Canada – Transport of Dangerous Goods and the provincial ministries of the Environment regarding the proper packaging of regulated biomedical waste and sharps, as well as our Waste Acceptance Policy.
• Generators are responsible for packaging waste for transport to treatment facilities. Stericycle drivers do not package waste.
• Each bag must be hand tied by gathering and twisting the neck of the bag and using a tie or hand knot to secure the bag, and each container must be securely closed.
• Closed bags must not be visible once a secondary container (box or reusable tub) is closed.
• Improperly packaged containers or damaged containers will be denied pickup or returned to the generator.
• Reusable sharps containers should not be packaged in biomedical waste containers but rather placed on the racks for standard processing.
Health Canada has published a resource page for healthcare professionals and other potentially affected businesses. The page (https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals.html?topic=tilelink) provides up-to-date valuable information and guidance. Stericycle will keep its customers and team members informed of significant regulatory developments.