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WESA Daily Briefing: July 6, 2020

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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.

 

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7:23 p.m. - Power outage impacts East End communities

A transformer fire has caused power outages affecting Highland Park, Morningside, Garfield, East Liberty, Stanton Heights, Lawrenceville and Bloomfield neighborhoods, according to Allegheny County officials. The outage will impact approximately 30 blocks. It is unknown when power will be restored.

5:01 p.m. – Black-owned business event postponed

A market to support Black-owned businesses in Pittsburgh Tuesday has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. But its organizer says people can still fulfill the spirit of the market.  Kyley Coleman operates a directory of Black-owned businesses on Instagram and Facebook called Black Owned PGH. She says it's a way to take the protests from the streets to people's wallets.

"In one day Americans spend so much money and imagine if we put it into Black businesses - how much of a change that could make,” Coleman said.

The Market was scheduled to coincide with national Blackout Day events. Coleman says it will be rescheduled once County officials lift the ban on gatherings of more than 25 people.

4:02 p.m. – Gov. Tom Wolf announces $170 million in additional federal aid for the childcare industry

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Monday that the state’s child care industry will receive an additional $169 million dollars of federal financial subsidies over the next few months.

“This funding will help child care providers bridge the gap until their clientele returns,” Wolf said in a statement. “It will also help them with any increased costs that have been incurred due to the pandemic.”

$53 million will come from funding provided by the Federal CARES act designated for child care, and will be distributed later this month. The remaining $116 million comes from Pennsylvania’s portion of federal stimulus money provided directly to the states. It will be distributed “in the coming months,” according to a press release.

Pennsylvania’s child care providers already received $51 million of federal stimulus last month. Despite that, at least 65 of the state’s roughly 7,000 child care providers have already announced they have closed permanently due to the pandemic.

Industry advocates say they are happy about the aid, but that it is not nearly enough.

“Programs that are operating are not doing so at full capacity and programs have added costs as a result of their additional PPE/sanitization and/or staffing needs,” said Jen DeBell, executive director of Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children, in an email. “This is why we are calling on our congressional delegation to include significant dedicated funding for child care in their next stimulus bill.”

The city said money will be distributed on a “first-come, first-served basis,” with each household receiving no more than $750 a month.

3:41 p.m. - AHN mobile testing will be in several Allegheny County locations this week

Allegheny Health Network's roving COVID-19 testing unit will be at the City Hall Building in Clairton on Tuesday, AHN Canonsburg Hospital on Wednesday, Alma Illery Medical Center in Homewood on Thursday and Duquesne Elementary School in Duquesne, Pa. on Friday.

Patients are asked to make appointments during time slots from 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. They can be made online or by calling 412-687-7348

3:25 p.m. - Most school districts are waiting to release fall instruction plans

A majority of Allegheny County school districts have not published plans for the next school year, and families may not get answers for a few more weeks.

Pennsylvania's Secretary of Education says he expects students to return to buildings in the fall. But the state requires school boards to review and approve each re-opening plan, and most of the county’s 43 districts have not yet released detailed plans. Most have told parents when they plan to return, but not how social distancing or masking will be enforced.

Other states will require students to wear masks throughout the day. Pennsylvania has not given that guidance.

Pittsburgh Public Schools tasked 16 subcommittees of teachers and parents to figure out how to safely return in late August. Those recommendations are expected to be released later this month. Other large districts including Shaler and Mt. Lebanon have also convened task forces.

2:37 p.m. -   Nearly 100K in Pennsylvania got federal virus loans so far

The Treasury Department has released the names of more than 26,000 businesses or organizations based in Pennsylvania that received funds from a federal program intended to support the economy as states shut down to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The Treasury on Monday only identified borrowers that got more than $150,000. So far, that's about one-quarter of the more than 97,000 entities from Pennsylvania that borrowed from the program. The average loan amount for the entire program was $107,000, the Treasury says. The government handed out $521 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program. The Trump administration has refused to release details on loans under $150,000.

Read more here

12:20 p.m. – Latest COVID numbers

Allegheny County reported 218 new cases Monday, the second-highest single-day case uptick so far. The number of cases is now at 3,775. The county also reported one new death and four new hospitalizations.

Statewide, officials say the number of cases increased by 450, pushing the total number of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania past 90,000. The Allegheny County death that occurred in the last 24 hours was the only new death reported in the state.    

11:02 a.m. - PPS warehouse closed after employee tests positive for COVID-19

Some Pittsburgh Public Schools properties will be closed today due to the coronavirus. 

The district closed its Service Center Warehouse, after an employee there tested positive for the coronavirus.

The district was alerted about the case Sunday. Officials also informed staff members that there were reports of a potential exposure to an employee working out of Pittsburgh Fulton. 

The district says it will continue to keep staff updated about potential exposures.  

9:42 p.m. - Prepare for a hot day

The National Weather Service says Pittsburgh will see a high of 95 degrees today and surrounding areas will all see temperatures in the 90s. While it's been hot for the better part of a week now, KDKA-TV reports we're not technically in a heat wave yet.

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7:38 a.m. - What you missed over the weekend

The weekend brought 277 new COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County, bringing the total to 3,557. The county also reported six new hospitalizations. No new deaths were reported.

Statewide, more than 1,000 new cases were reported. The total of positive cases across Pennsylvania now stands at 89,854.