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July 13-17 Explained: COVID-19 Cases Rise, Zone 5 Police Station Protest & PPS Considers Reopening

David Zalubowski

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:

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 iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher and Spotify.

Kiley Koscinski is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She previously produced The Confluence and Morning Edition. Before coming to WESA, she worked as an assignment desk editor and producer at 1020 AM KDKA. She can be reached at kkoscinski@wesa.fm.
Christopher started listening to public radio shortly after he picked up the keys to that '98 Chevy Cavalier back in 2004. He no longer has that car (it's kind of a funny story), but he still listens to--and now has a hand in creating--public radio programming everyday.