Sarah Boden

Health And Science Reporter

When Sarah Boden was a junior in high school she landed an after-school job as a telemarketer where she sold cable internet and TV. Making unsolicited phone calls to taciturn strangers prepared Boden for a career in journalism. 

Today Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio where she won a regional Edward R. Murrow for her story on a legal challenge to Iowa's felon voting ban.

Boden's reporting has appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday and WBUR's Here and Now.

When not talking to strangers, Boden enjoys ceramics and spending time with her cat, Julie.

KEITH SRAKOCIC / AP

When a UPMC service coordinator received notification this month that it was her turn to get the COVID vaccine, she was surprised. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

It is likely the new strain of the coronavirus that was first identified in the U.K. is already circulating in Allegheny County, according to the chair of the county’s board of health.

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

State data show that COVID-19 hospitalizations in Pennsylvania have increased by more than 500 percent since the beginning of November. But administrators of the state’s largest hospital system continue to say that staff are capable of handling this significant influx of patients. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

GNC is allowing people to skip the line for coronavirus testing -- the Pittsburgh-based wellness retailer now sells an over-the-counter test on its website for $120. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

The coronavirus vaccine is coming to the Kane Community Living Centers, which have lost a total of 46 residents to COVID-19 this year.

GENE J. PUSKAR / AP

It's a cold, white Christmas in Pittsburgh. 

Alexander Richard

Snowy weather and hazardous roads, in addition to the pandemic, are likely to interfere with this week's holiday celebrations.

David Zalubowski / AP

State data shows that 299 Allegheny County residents have died from COVID-19 so far this month.

 

That means that one-third of the county’s total COVID fatalities since the start of the pandemic have occurred in December.

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Health Department reports that some 4,000 county residents have received their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Essential workers will have the option to get the coronavirus before the general public, but details on how members of this vast and diverse group will be prioritized are scant.

Allegheny Health Network

All 14 hospitals in Allegheny County that were slated to receive shipments of the coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech have gotten their deliveries--according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Crack'd Egg / Facebook

Allegheny County’s top public health official is telling residents to give the cold shoulder to businesses that refuse to comply with Pennsylvania’s new COVID-19 restrictions.

UPMC Livestream

Five UPMC employees were the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Pittsburgh Monday. UPMC received its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine at 9:15 a.m. at Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville. The first shipment contained 975 doses; the state of Pennsylvania is slated to receive 100 shipments, equaling 97,500 doses total.

Matt Slocum / AP

Rumors have been circulating for nearly a week that new coronavirus mitigation restrictions in Pennsylavnia would be announced by Governor Tom Wolf. Instead, on Wednesday, Governor Wolf announced that he and members of his security team tested positive for the coronavirus.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf and other top officials again pleaded with the public to stay home during a Monday news conference, citing Pennsylvania's surging coronavirus infections and crowded hospitals.

John Minchillo / AP

Allegheny County passed a depressing milestone on Thursday, reporting more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

A month ago that number seemed distant. 

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

November was a very bad month for coronavirus infections in Allegheny County.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Long before the coronavirus jumped from an animal to a human to start the global pandemic, western Pennsylvania was already grappling with another health crisis — the drug epidemic.

MATT ROURKE / AP

Case investigators in Allegheny County are keeping up with new coronavirus cases at a higher rate than in other parts of Pennsylvania, but not everyone who tests positive will be contacted by a public health worker.

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is further rationing which coronavirus cases will receive calls from case investigators and contact tracers. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Citing the rapidly climbing number of coronavirus cases, the Allegheny County Health Department issued a stay-at-home advisory on Wednesday afternoon. 

Kathy Young / AP

Over the weekend, Pennsylvania reported 10,000 new cases of the coronavirus, continuing a surge of infections that shows no sign of slowing down.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA News

As COVID-19 cases spike across Pennsylvania, the state Department of Health says members of the public are increasingly reluctant to cooperate with contact tracers – and local public health workers say they are also encountering greater push back.

John Dillard / UPMC

Hospitals around the county are getting slammed with surges of COVID-19 patients.

The situation is not as dire in Pennsylvania, but as the state continues to see record-breaking coronavirus case numbers on a near daily basis, that could change.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Nights are getting longer, temperatures colder, and the spread of the coronavirus is accelerating across Pennsylvania.

LIZ REID / 90.5 WESA

Open enrollment is now underway for Pennsylvanians looking to purchase health insurance coverage for 2021. But instead of the federal marketplace people will be shopping on Pennie, the new state-run exchange.

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

As the weather gets colder and coronavirus cases continue to climb, Allegheny County’s top public health official says people must change their behavior.

First-year medical student Sean Sweat "didn't want to tiptoe around" issues of race when she sat down with 11 of her classmates to write a new version of the medical profession's venerable Hippocratic oath.

"We start our medical journey amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and a national civil rights movement reinvigorated by the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery," begins the alternate version of the oath, rewritten for the class of 2024 at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA News

Poll worker Paul Dascani will be spending Election Day at St. Rosalia’s, a nearly 100-year-old Catholic church in Pittsburgh’s Greenfield neighborhood. He decided to volunteer this year because of COVID-19.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

Despite the horrors of COVID-19, trick-or-treating in 2020 probably won’t be too different compared to previous years.

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