July 13-17 Explained: COVID-19 Cases Rise, Zone 5 Police Station Protest & PPS Considers Reopening
Despite mitigation efforts by the county to bring down surging coronavirus cases in Pittsburgh, new cases continued to be tallied in the triple digits this week. Officials blame a testing backlog for Tuesday’s record-setting 331 new reported cases.
Other than presenting an inaccurate portrayal of the pandemic locally, the delay cost the county’s case investigators precious time to warn others who may have come into contact with someone sick with COVID-19.
The Wolf administration, meanwhile, imposed new restrictions on nightclubs, bars and restaurants in an effort to confront the statewide rise in cases.
Protesters returned to Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood this week; a neighborhood where in June, police deployed tear gas canisters and bean-bag rounds to disperse activists gathered near a Target. This time, demonstrators called for police to reconsider their plans to reoccupy the old Zone 5 police building in East Liberty—which hasn’t been used by police since they moved to another building along Washington Boulevard in 2007.
Pittsburgh Public Schools officials offered a glimpse into what they’re considering as the new school year approaches and the coronavirus pandemic remains. PPS will consider the recommendations made by its own taskforce and announce a reopening plan to the public in August. Pennsylvania’s health and education secretaries say a school hybrid model with both in-person and online learning is the best approach for reopening K-12 schools in the fall.
Helping explain the headlines this week:
- Sarah Boden, health and science reporter
- Lucy Perkins, government and accountability editor
- Sarah Schneider, education reporter
Pittsburgh Explainer is hosted by Liz Reid and produced by Katie Blackley. This week’s episode was hosted by Christopher Ayers and produced by Kiley Koscinski. New episodes come out every Friday. Subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify.