Piedmont infection preventionist on coronavirus: ‘Every day we learn something new’


With the concerns over Coronavius growing as the first cases in Georgia were reported Monday, WRBL News 3 sat down with an infection preventionist at Piedmont Columbus Regional.

Susan Harp has been working in the field for 38 years. An infection preventionist is a nurse who holds an RN degree but who specializes in preventing infections and helping stop people from getting sick.

That’s an important job as the Coronavirus continues to spread.

When she was asked what she knew about the virus that we should all know, Harp had an interesting answer.

“It’s probably more what we don’t know yet that’s the scariest part of it,” she said. “Every day we learn something new, every day there’s a new update, and keeping up with the CDC advisories and CDC updates is really challenging but it’s something we’re committed to doing and we’re in very close contact with our public health partners.”

There have been 60 total U.S. cases of COVID-19 in 12 states. There have been six deaths in the U.S.

The virus started in China and has spread to other countries.

Columbus is home to many companies that do business across the globe.

“Many businesses in Columbus are thinking about can they telecommunicate if the bad thing happens and its widely spread in this city and we’re seeing wide, widespread, community spread,” Harp said. “And at this time we’re not there. It does look like it’s going to be very difficult to contain once the cow’s out of the barn.”

Pratt & Whitney employs about 2,000 workers in Georgia, most of those affiliated with the Columbus engine overhaul plant. Pratt & Whitney does business across the world.

The company is based in Connecticut and its policy is more aggressive than many of the local businesses.

In January, Pratt & Whitney instituted a worldwide self-assessment and voluntary 14-day quarantine policy for any employee, contractor, supplier or visitor who has been traveling in or through China to include Hong Kong. a company spokesperson told News 3 Tuesday in a statement.

That list of impacted countries now includes Macau, South Korean, Italy and Iran.

Supplemental insurance company Aflac sells policies in the U.S. and Japan with 70 percent of its revenue from Japan. TSYS/Global Payments partners with a Chinese electronic payment processing company.

The W.C. Bradley Company owns Char-Broil, which manufacturers grills. Almost 95 percent of its product is produced in China.

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