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.

Allegheny County

State and county officials have started to discuss relaxing social distancing mandates, though the head of the Allegheny County Health Department says there are still many unknowns.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

UPMC says it plans to start increasing the number of non-emergency procedures it performs.

Google Maps

Administrators of Allegheny County-owned nursing homes say there is no way to know exactly how COVID-19 spread to roughly one quarter of the residents at its Glen Hazel facility.

Allegheny County

In cities like Milwaukee, New Orleans and Boston, black residents have been dying from COVID-19 at higher rates than white residents. Local public health researchers and advocates worry the same might be happening in Allegheny County.

Marshall Ritzell / AP

Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients may provide a desperately needed treatment for people currently fighting the disease.

COURTESY OF VA PITTSBURGH HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

The Department of Veterans Affairs is ramping up hiring for full and part-time positions throughout Pennsylvania to ensure hospitals are fully staffed in case there’s a surge of COVID-19 patients.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvanians have been ordered to isolate at home, and some people are dealing with the stress and boredom with a stiff drink.

Public Health Dynamics Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh

Some medical experts and government officials say they are "cautiously optimistic" that recent data indicate that the spread of COVID-19 is slowing in Allegheny County and Pennsylvania.

Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA News

Doctors at local Federally Qualified Health Centers say their patients are at higher risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is certainly true for COVID-19. The disease has no cure, and right now, the only way to avoid completely overwhelming our medical system is to prevent the virus’s spread by isolating ourselves from each other.


KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

If a surge of COVID-19 patients overwhelms local health systems, Allegheny County plans to use the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh to accommodate patients.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

UPMC said Friday it’s ramping up telehealth efforts to meet the demands of patients seeking care amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, reporting that last week it provided more remote visits than it did during the entirety of 2019.

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Two residents at an Allegheny County-run nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19.

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.

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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.

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