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Mayor Bill Peduto Says City Will Continue Operations During Potential Coronavirus Spread

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Ariel Worthy
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90.5 WESA
Mayor Bill Peduto giving a press brief on the city's plans to tackle the coronavirus.

​Mayor Bill Peduto said Pittsburgh will continue its normal operations as city workers prepare for the potential spread of the coronavirus in Allegheny County.

"Your garbage will be picked up, when you turn the water on it will be safe," he said. "...And we will have public safety officials there to help you any time you call 9-1-1. That part of it is our role in assuring that the operations of the city can continue through a pandemic."

At a Wednesday night press conference Peduto said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest the disease is in its early stages and taking precautionary actions now could minimize its spread.

The city announced earlier on Wednesday that it canceled Saturday’s annual St. Patrick's Day parade and the G7 Summit that it was set to host later this month. It also banned air travel, both internationally and domestic, for city employees unless it was deemed essential. The city is also recommending that bars, clubs and restaurants lower their occupancy rates.

Peduto also said the city is in the process of identifying locations in Pittsburgh in case of hospital overcapacity as the coronavirus outbreak continues. While he wouldn't identify where they are looking, he said they want to increase the number of beds and plan for extra equipment and personnel.

"We recognize that Pittsburgh will be the center for a lot of our neighbors from throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania to be able to get the treatment that they will need and we want to be able to take care of everyone," he said.

There have been 16 presumptive positive cases of the virus in Pennsylvania, but so far none of the reported cases have been in Western Pennsylvania.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., Ariel finally made a “big move” 45 minutes down the interstate to the University of Alabama where she studied Journalism and International Studies. During her time in college she interned with Tuscaloosa News, a daily newspaper in her college town. After college, she got her first job back in her hometown with Birmingham Times, a weekly where she served as reporter and editor. Ariel made an even bigger move to Pittsburgh and joined the 90.5 WESA family as digital producer. She is adjusting to experiencing actual cold weather.