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Cleaner Engelbert Camilleri

Mum’s the word for cleaner

The arrival of coronavirus made people nervous including non-clinical hospital staff like domestic cleaner Engelbert Camilleri.

The 26 year-old works in Ealing Hospital’s A&E department but he was reassigned to the Rapid Response Team during the first wave of the pandemic.

He was tasked with ‘terminal cleans’ of areas where Covid-positive patients had been assessed.

Engelbert said: “We’d been training for several weeks including putting on and taking off PPE equipment and were all a bit concerned about what to expect.

“I remember my bleeper going off one morning asking me to clean a room that had just been vacated by a suspected Covid patient and I thought here we go.”

Engelbert and several colleagues that he was training, put on their protective equipment and went to work with the aid of chlorinated products.

“It took us about 30 minutes the first time. The trickiest is theatres because there is a lot of equipment to clean and several side rooms off the main operating area.”

All PPE and cleaning equipment was disposed of after each terminal clean to minimise the risk of cross contamination.

Engelbert and his colleagues were carrying out  numerous cleans a shift during the peak of the first wave in April

“It was stressful to start with but you like all the other staff. We’re a big family at the end of the day and we got through it together.

“I was always careful and when I got home from my shift immediately put all my clothes in the wash. The first thing my mum said was ‘wash your hands!’ It’s obviously worked because I haven’t been sick throughout the whole time.” 

“It’s been an experience but we got through it and now have only a handful of cases. We don’t know if and when a second wave will come, but we’ve got through it once so know we can do it again.".

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