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WESA Daily Briefing: July 3, 2020

Erin Keane Scott
90.5 WESA

News on the coronavirus pandemic, protests, 2020 election and more from around Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Find all of the WESA Daily Briefing posts here

Editor's note: This post will be frequently updated with the latest news.


12:19 p.m. - 177 new COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County today

The Allegheny County Health Department said the total cases are now found in patients with a median age of 28. Today's total brings the number of positive cases to 3,280. The positivity rate of 5-6 percent one week ago has now increased to 10 percent.

Statewide, there are 667 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 88, 741.

11:05 a.m. - Some lawmakers want fireworks laws to change

Three years ago, state lawmakers made it legal for Pennsylvanians to buy many types of fireworks. But some are trying to roll back the change.

In the Senate, nearly all members support allowing some communities to have more control over fireworks.

Forty-eight have voted in favor of an amendment to allow eight cities and one township to ban them, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Scranton, Bethlehem and Lancaster. Bensalem Township in Bucks County could also ban them under the proposal.

But, Democratic Senator Judy Schwank told WITF’s Smart Talk that proposal doesn’t go far enough.

She says she wants to repeal the 2017 fireworks expansion in full.

“I’ve been in the legislature for a few years, and I understand that putting this genie back in the bottle is likely impossible,” Schwank said. “But what I did want to do was draw attention to this issue.”

Last session, the Berks County lawmaker proposed a more modest measure -- giving all municipalities more power to regulate fireworks.

A tax on the devices brought in $7.4 million from July 2019 through May of this year.

10:50 a.m. - This week explained: A COVID-19 surge, civil rights suit and a message to everyone

Pittsburgh Explainer with Liz Reid looks at Allegheny County's recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, a new high for the region. It also reflects on another week of protests against police brutality, as well as a case against the city.

And, a conversation with Angelo LaFortune, a recent graduate of Brashear High School. Host Liz Reid first met Angelo when he was an 8th grader at Pittsburgh Sunnyside PreK-8.

Listen to the full episode.

10:34 a.m. -  State Health Department has received more than 19,000 complaints about businesses disregarding pandemic restrictions

An online form launched in April allows people to report a variety of violations, such as not following physical distancing guidelines or employees working while sick. The department is encouraging people to use the form to report such concerns.

9:30 a.m. - Some city offices closed for the holiday weekend

City of Pittsburgh municipal offices are closed today in observance of tomorrow’s Fourth of July holiday. Today’s closings excludes the Urban Redevelopment Authority, which will instead be closed on Monday.

Trash collection, however, continues on its regular schedule, including pickup both today and tomorrow.