Residents complain about measures taken by homeowners association to prevent transmission of coronavirus

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KEY BRICKELL, Fla. – South Florida community is trying to be proactive to protect people from the COVID-19 pandemic, but instead residents are complaining that what’s being done is toxic and causing more harm than good .

Brickell Key resident Priscilla Colon often takes walks by the water’s edge, but recently she has started noticing migraines; and then his dog, Astro, got sick.

Colon said that since mid-March, people in hazmat suits have been driving around the community’s open spaces in golf carts. They spray a chemical on the community’s Baywalk which some photos show even harms the grass.

In an email obtained by Local 10 News, the Brickell Key Master Association said they have started a daily sanitation program at 5 a.m., using Virex Plus, which is being applied, they said, in accordance with management. of the product.

This, however, is disputed. Christina Vazquez of Local 10 News checked with Virex maker Diversey.

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In a statement to Local 10, Diversey said Virex Plus is a disinfectant designed to clean hard surfaces.

“Diversey does not recommend the use of Virex Plus on porous concrete or grass.”

Signs tell residents the Baywalk is closed for remediation from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., but some residents have told Local 10 that it can remain closed until 1 p.m., after which they still walked away. complained about the smell of spray.

While Virex Plus is listed on what the EPA calls its N list of disinfectants for the virus that causes COVID-19, an EPA spokesperson said the products should be used as directed, and that EPA and CDC guidelines generally state that only routine cleaning is required for outdoor spaces.

Additionally, the Florida Poison Information Center in Miami told Local 10 that this product’s class disinfectants are designed for industrial cleaning, not residential uses. They also said that there was no scientific basis yet for spraying common areas to fight coronavirus infection, and exposure to a high enough concentration can cause eye irritation, blistering on the skin. skin, stomach pain and vomiting.

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As for Priscilla’s dog, Astro, “He had to be hospitalized,” she said. “Diagnosed with gastritis.”

Astro’s vet told Local 10 that this happened after consuming the herb sprayed with Virex and the dog may have suffered permanent internal damage.

Priscilla said that despite raising these concerns with the association, the spraying is continuing.

“They are wasting our financial resources,” she said.

In a statement sent to Local 10 News, the Brickell Key Master Association said, in part: “BKMA has not used Virex Plus since April 10. Virex Plus became unavailable due to consumer demand, so BKMA then switched to using a diluted disinfectant approved by Clorox. for indoor and outdoor use.

According to the association, residents have received email announcements that include “the information they need to choose whether to visit the affected areas.”

The statement concludes, “The Master Association will continue to operate the Baywalk remediation program with approved products and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. All residents, including dog owners, should personally decide whether they wish to use any of the island’s specific amenities in light of the cleaning programs in place.

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Update:

FULL STATEMENTS OBTAINED BY LOCAL 10 NEWS BELOW:

“All items on List N should only be used according to label directions. In addition, the EPA and the CDC have worked together on sanitizing and sanitizing guidelines that include information about outdoor spaces. The guide explains that in general, only routine cleaning is required for outdoor areas. It is important to use disinfectants efficiently given the limited stocks. -Spokesperson for the EPA. To learn more about the EPA’s guidance in this way, Click here.

“Virex® Plus is an effective disinfectant designed for cleaning and disinfecting hard, non-porous surfaces, and should be used as specified on the label. Diversey does not recommend the use of Virex Plus on concrete or concrete. porous grass because these are not hard When used according to label directions, Virex Plus has been shown to be safe and effective.

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“We are receiving calls regarding disinfectants in the class of this product (quaternary ammonium) and the calls have been increasing since March (see table attached). I am not able to disclose information on this specific product or specific callers (since these calls are medical records and are covered by HIPAA) What I can say is that we are getting calls regarding this category of cleaning products and the symptoms of callers range from l Eye irritation to skin blisters, stomach pain and vomiting if exposed to a high enough concentration. These products are designed for use on hard surfaces in healthcare or industrial settings – not for residential use, according to the EPA. There is no scientific basis yet for spraying common areas to fight coronavirus infection. The virus is unlikely to s survive for a long time on exterior surfaces with our heat, sun and humidity. Sidewalks and shrubs are also not “high traffic areas” for most people. Pets and young children are at greater risk for these types of poisoning because they are closer to the ground and touch and put random things in their mouths with greater frequency. A better approach for residential communities (beyond cleaning interior areas like handrails, elevators, etc.) would be to encourage residents to remove their shoes when entering the house and / or to disinfect them. soles of their shoes if they want to be particularly full. Please let me know if you need more information and please share the hotline with your viewers if they have any further questions: 1-800-222-1222. – Wendy Blair Stephan, Florida Poison Information Center-Miami.

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“As part of the Baywalk remediation program and in accordance with city and county mandates, the BKMA closed Baywalk on March 23. Prior to that date and thereafter, as part of the remediation program, the BKMA started applying disinfectant in some areas of Brickell Key, focusing on difficult points such as benches and garbage cans and including grassy areas adjacent to the Baywalk. The BKMA selected only commercially available products and widely used, and strictly followed the “guidelines for use.” On March 30, the BKMA distributed information with these details to all residents, and this information continues to be available upon request.

“BKMA has not used Virex Plus since April 10. Virex Plus has become unavailable due to consumer demand, so BKMA has switched to using a diluted disinfectant approved Clorox for indoor and outdoor use. outside.

“The BKMA has installed signs indicating where and when areas are closed for sanitation (between 5:00 am and 9:00 am). These signs specifically ask residents to wait until the area is completely dry before entering. The BKMA has also followed by email announcements to provide residents and guests with the information they need to choose whether to visit affected areas.

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“The Master Association will continue to manage the Baywalk sanitation program with approved products and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. All residents, including dog owners, should personally decide whether they wish to use any of the island’s specific amenities in light of the cleaning programs in place. – Association of Brickell Key Masters.

Below: Letter from Colon’s veterinarian regarding Astro consuming weed sprayed with Virex, and an email from the Brickell Key Master Association to Colon in which it is said that Virex Plus “is applied as directed”.

A letter from Pricilla Colon’s veterinarian regarding her dog, Astro, ingesting grass sprayed with Virex Plus, a disinfectant. (WPLG)
Email from the Brickell Key Master Association to resident Priscilla Colon. (WPLG)

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