Sarah Boden

Health And Science Reporter

Sarah 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 covered a range of issues, including the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

Sarah’s reporting has appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday and WBUR's Here and Now. She has won multiple awards, including a regional Edward R. Murrow for her story on a legal challenge to Iowa's felon voting ban.

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.

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.

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.

GENE J. PUSKAR / AP

Despite directives from state and county health officials, elective surgeries are still being performed at UPMC facilities. 

Medical professionals employed by UPMC, speaking to WESA on condition of anonymity, said this decision may have dire consequences in light of COVID-19’s exponential spread.

While less time sensitive, elective surgeries are often medically necessary; examples include kidney stone removal, hernia repair and shoulder arthroscopy.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Allegheny Health Network is offering drive-through testing for COVID-19 starting Wednesday in Wexford.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

All bars and restaurants in Allegheny County have been ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf to close dine-in facilities for at least two weeks starting Monday morning, to encourage social distancing, which slows the spread of coronavirus. 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County is not following Gov. Tom Wolf’s recommendation that Pennsylvanians cancel and avoid any gatherings larger than 250 people, so as to discourage the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools said an employee will be under self-quarantine for the next two weeks, though the district is not concerned the woman has exposed students or staff.

 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On Wednesday, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of PittsburghDuquesne University, Chatham University, and Robert Morris University announced they are switching all classes to online instruction as the schools prepare for a possible spread of COVID-19

Gene J. Puskar / AP

UPMC and Allegheny County are being sued after the hospital system allegedly performed urine testing on a woman and her newborn — without the woman’s consent — and then turned over the results to county officials for investigation.

Matt Rourke / AP

While it’s widely known that breast milk offers babies health benefits, a Carnegie Mellon University researcher says it might also hold the answer to developing a better way for infants to ingest medicines.

Google Street View

Due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus, UPMC is asking people not to visit the health network’s long-term care or skilled-nursing facilities if they are ill or have cold symptoms, even if these symptoms are relatively minor.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA News

The two dominant health insurers in western Pennsylvania are picking up the bill for COVID-19 testing, when recommended by a medical professional.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA News

Pennsylvania officials say there are two presumed positive coronavirus cases in the eastern part of the state. There are no confirmed cases in western Pennsylvania, though it’s possible that the virus is circulating, undetected, in the Pittsburgh area. *

To conserve medical resources if a potential outbreak does occur, the Allegheny County Health Department is recommending that people get the seasonal flu shot.

Allegheny County

A pediatrician will be the new director of the Allegheny County Health Department. Dr. Debra Bogen is currently the vice chair for education in the Department of Pediatrics at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Pending state approval, she'll take over the role permanently on May 4.

Though it's possible that coronavirus is circulating undetected in western Pennsylvania, the region’s largest health care system said on Tuesday that it hasn’t needed to test any patients at any of its facilities for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County says it is preparing in case coronavirus makes its way to western Pennsylvania, though there are no confirmed cases in the state.

REID FRAZIER / ALLEGHENY FRONT

An Allegheny County judge has approved a settlement to resolve a class action lawsuit that claims pollution from the country's largest coke producing facility created a nuisance and hurt nearby property values.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

An important supplemental nutrition program for young families continues to lose enrollment in Allegheny County, despite recent changes to make the Women, Infants and Children program more user-friendly.

LM Otero / AP

This season’s flu vaccine is effective about 45 percent of the time, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sarah Boden / WESA News

State officials are gathering teacher input as they prepare to update the Commonwealth’s science education standards, and teachers had a lot to stay at a Thursday stakeholder session, held at the Monroeville campus of the Community College of Allegheny County. 

Google Maps

A western Pennsylvania-based chain of more than 50 skilled nursing homes has agreed to pay $15,466,278 to resolve claims that it provided medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy to residents in order to generate revenue.

Kerie Trimble

Today is Valentine’s Day, which means your social media feeds are likely flushed with saccharine sentiments from couples who are SUPER IN LOVE. Or are they?

CAROLYN KASTER / AP

A bill introduced by an Allegheny County state representative this week would prohibit smoking in all workplaces in Pennsylvania. The legislation, from Rep. Dan Frankel, would include all bars, casinos and private clubs, which are currently allowed to apply for an exemption from the state Clean Indoor Act.

Civic Mapper

When you flush the toilet in Allegheny County, chances are that the waste ends up at a facility just up the Ohio River from the McKees Rocks Bridge.

To track the waste's path from one's toilet to the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, people can use Flush.It.  This interactive map directs users to type in an address that’s within the ALCOSAN service area. After several seconds, a bright turquoise line appears, tracing a flush's route.

AP Photo/David Goldman

If you’ve noticed more coworkers have been calling in sick with the flu, it’s not just your imagination. Data show nearly twice as many Pennsylvanians have gotten the flu so far this season, compared to this time last year.

However, flu-related fatalities and hospitalizations are not particularly high this year.

That’s because Type B is that strain of influenza that’s been circulating for most of this season. Compared to Type A, the B strain is less deadly.

Terry Chea / AP

As concerns of a global pandemic amplify, some Pittsburgh institutions are taking precautions against the new coronavirus by restricting travel to China.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades launched a national boycott against PPG products with a protest in Market Square Friday afternoon.

Closed hospital and empty parking lot.
Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

The door to the emergency room at the Ellwood City Medical Center is locked. 

JAKE SAVITZ / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh-based PPG says it has made good on its 2016 pledge to eliminate lead from all products by 2020.

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