@CityPGH / Twitter

On today's program: Pittsburgh's mayor says it will be weeks before local coronavirus cases peak; residents ask whether the government should direct more resources to people struggling during the pandemic; and a look at how local arts groups are coping with widespread shutdowns.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvanians filed about 650,000 unemployment compensation claims over the past 11 days as the coronavirus has spread and thousands of businesses closed or laid off employees, according to new information released by the state Thursday.


The furnaces at Pittsburgh Glass Center have gone cold. It’s a small but poignant metaphor for an arts scene in almost complete shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

Zach Morris / Wikipedia

Jem Dittmar has been a Lyft driver for six years. Sometimes it’s been part-time work, but recently it’s been a full-time gig.

“I love working for Lyft,” they said. “I love people, I love driving, I love the schedule.”

Then coronavirus hit. St. Patrick’s Day weekend was the last time Dittmar drove; they headed out to ferry drunk revelers home, despite feeling a little under the weather.

NEPA Community Health Center

While U.S. cities may be seeing the initial wave of COVID-19 cases, the novel coronavirus is expected to spread to nearly every community in the nation.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Education Secretary Pedro Rivera is “strongly encouraging” school districts to find ways to teach students while schools across the state are shut down.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Pennsylvania Department of Health said hand sanitizer-related exposures are up more than 80 percent, compared to this time last year, at poison control centers in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the state’s two largest cities.

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Vote To Delay Primary Election

Mar 25, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania lawmakers voted Wednesday to delay the state's primary election by five weeks to June 2, potentially past the spike of the state's spreading coronavirus cases.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Area grocery stores have increased health and safety measures for employees to help slow the spread of COVID-19. From markers on the floor that signify appropriate social distancing to store hours designated for vulnerable populations, here’s how local stores are adjusting their operations:

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh shows that over the past decade, brand-name drug prices rose three times faster than the rate of inflation, even after factoring in discounts.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Firehouses throughout the city have run out commercial hand sanitizer, but they've gotten help from an unusual source: Maggie's Farm Rum Distillery.

The distillery is one of several in the state that have shifted production to sanitizer. Maggie's Farm Rum donated 70 gallons of it this week. 

Gensler + HDR in association with luis vidal + architects / Allegheny County Airport Authority


On today's program: Protecting people from the outbreak could have dire consequences for those sheltering in place with an abuser; and PIT will wait for a less volatile stock market to break ground on its $1.1 billion terminal project.

Matt Rourke / AP

A measure to delay Pennsylvania's primary election by five weeks, potentially past the spike of the state's spreading coronavirus cases, could fly through both chambers of the state Legislature to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk on Wednesday.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Council decided not to vote at its meeting Tuesday on whether to enact an emergency bill that would mandate the release of jail inmates charged with low-level crimes.  The bill, which seeks to combat the spread of the new coronavirus behind bars, will instead go to council’s public safety committee for review.

Philly To Buy Laptops For Needy Students For Virtual Classes During Shutdown

Mar 25, 2020
Emma Lee / WHYY

Based on guidance from the federal government, the School District of Philadelphia is proceeding with a plan to offer more rigorous virtual instruction during the coronavirus shutdown —  a reversal from last week when it said equity concerns hampered its ability to provide mandated, graded learning.

Wolf Reopens Gun Shops, Orders More Residents To Stay Home

Mar 24, 2020
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Even as he ordered residents of another county to stay at home, Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday quietly allowed gun shops to reopen on a limited basis during the coronavirus pandemic after several justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court urged him to do so.

Courtesy of Northside Common Ministries

On today's program: How one homeless shelter is coping during the pandemic; why UPMC says elective procedures should proceed, even as resources remain tight; and farmers are declared life-sustaining, but it’s unclear where they can sell their food.

Ed Mahon / PA Post

Josh Juffe drove up to Freedom Armory, where a large sign describes it as “Your Second Amendment Connection,” only to find that the gun store was closed.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Childcare is the most pressing issue next to access to personal protective equipment like masks, says Matt Yarnell the president of the state’s largest union representing health care workers.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A number of COVID-19 testing sites have opened in and around Pittsburgh in the past week. Here’s a list of the sites, and what you need to know before you go.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The post was first published March 24, 2020. If you think something may be wrong, send us an email

State Officials To PA Farmers: 'We Need Local Agriculture Now More Than Ever'

Mar 24, 2020
Courtesy of PASA

On March 16th, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf first ordered restaurants and bars, and all non-essential businesses throughout the state to close, to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. It caused a wave of concern in the food industry: which businesses were considered non-essential? 

Gene Puskar / AP

Local police were prepared to enforce a statewide shutdown order for non-life-sustaining businesses on Monday, but said they generally expected businesses to cooperate.

Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by a gun shop that challenged Gov. Tom Wolf’s authority to shutter businesses determined to be “non-life-sustaining,” paving the way for enforcement to begin Monday.

Wolf Issues Stay-At-Home Order For Hardest-Hit Counties

Mar 23, 2020
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday ordered residents of Pennsylvania's hardest-hit areas to stay home for at least two weeks to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus that has already sickened hundreds and caused six deaths statewide.

Courtesy 412 Food Rescue


On today's program: How a local food waste prevention group is adapting to social distancing; scammers are capitalizing on the coronavirus outbreak; and advice from child psychologists about explaining COVID-19 to children.  

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania has received nearly 10,000 waiver requests from businesses and organizations seeking to remain open while Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown order for “non-life sustaining” businesses remains in effect.

LIVE BLOG: Coronavirus In Pittsburgh, March 23-29

Mar 23, 2020
Gene J. Puskar / AP

News on the coronavirus pandemic, including the responses of local governments, health departments, hospital systems, schools and other institutions. For information from the previous week, click here

For information the week of March 30 - April 3, click here.

Helpful coronavirus links:

Photo by Cheryl DeBono Michaelangelos / Courtesy of Flatiron Books

Eliese Goldbach didn’t start out with “steel-mill worker” as a life-goal.

Growing up in Cleveland, in the 1990s, she wanted to be a nun.

Mariner East Construction Shut Down By Governor's Order

Mar 22, 2020
Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Following a day of confusion for residents living along the Mariner East pipeline in Delaware and Chester counties, pipeline builder Energy Transfer says construction of the line will shut down due to Gov. Tom Wolf’s order closing all non-essential operations in the state because of the coronavirus pandemic. Emergency repair work will continue.