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Nominations are open for the 11th annual Hygiene Specialist Excellence award, which acknowledges the invaluable contributions of environmental services (EVS) departments in healthcare facilities across the U.S.

Sponsored by UMF Corporation, the award celebrates EVS staff, the essential healthcare workers who are serving on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19. Due to the pandemic and volume of EVS staff stepping up to serve, the deadline for nominations has been extended to July 15.

“We created the Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award to increase awareness of the invaluable contributions of EVS staff in creating a safe patient environment,” says UMF CEO George Clarke in a press release. “The award is particularly significant this year, as EVS workers are risking their health and lives to deliver an essential service in helping stop COVID-19 from spreading throughout hospitals and long-term care centers. Environmental hygiene specialists, in particular, are a first line of defense in preventing the spread of hospital associated infections (HAIs) and viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.”

As COVID-19 sweeps across communities, essential workers – first responders, doctors, nurses, store clerks, delivery drivers and teachers – are resoundingly and deservedly heralded as heroes. EVS employees, too, are putting their lives on the line in hospitals and long-term care facilities every day in the midst of the global health crisis. One of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention's top 5 recommendations for preventing COVID-19 is to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. EVS staff are the ones responsible for cleaning and disinfecting patient rooms, operating rooms and common areas before, during and after COVID-19 cases come through healthcare facilities.

“Often overlooked, EVS staff are more important than ever in the midst of the fight all nations are entrenched in against COVID-19,” says Clarke. “They are an integral part of enterprise-wide multimodal intervention programs to combat not only COVID-19, but also HAIs, which infect 1 in 31 hospital patients on any given day. It is time to shed light on their vital work to help ensure safe healthcare environments.”

EVS managers are encouraged to nominate dedicated staff members for the award. The award recipient will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two, including airfare, to South Beach on Miami Beach, Florida. Nomination forms are available at https://www.perfectclean.com/award-copy.