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Police Remind Pittsburgh: Social Distancing Still Matters, Even On Sunny Days


On today's program: What to expect when venturing into city parks; 911 centers will know if they’re responding to COVID-19 patients; and scientists need help from amateur researchers.

Where did all the basketball goals go?
(00:00 — 08:47) 

Playgrounds are wrapped in police tape and basketball hoops have been removed from their goals, but city parks are still open, public safety spokesperson Chris Togneri says. 

A spate of high temperatures and sunny days last weekend brought Pittsburghers out in droves, he says, so officials are reminding everyone to please stay at least six feet away from others when outside the home.

Togneri says so far, no Pittsburgh police officers have tested positive for COVID-19, though some have been asked to self-isolate. Commanders issued in-house guidance last week for how office workers remaining on the force can better adhere to social distancing while still on the job. 

"This is a difficult time. This is stressful. There's anxiety, there's uncertainty, and first responders are no different,” he says, “but that's not going to stop them. They're out there every day." 

COVID status will be linked to county’s 911 system
(8:57 — 13:09)

90.5 WESA’s Ariel Worthy reports union leaders have successfully argued for 911 dispatchers to have access to a list of addresses of known positive cases for COVID-19. The list, updated daily by the Allegheny County Health Department, would be accessible only by dispatchers, who can then relay that information if police, fire or emergency medical services are asked to make a home visit.

If someone in the home is exhibiting symptoms but has not been tested or tested positive, callers are asked to let dispatchers know before first responders arrive. Worthy finds non-emergency calls like theft, noise complaints or animal welfare will be reported in by phone as much as possible.

Become a citizen scientist during self-isolation
(13:18 — 17:54)

Life as we know it may have hit pause, but science is still happening. And anyone social distancing can still participate. The Allegheny Front’s Andy Kubis reports scientists from research labs in places like Yale and Oxford need help from everyday people classifying data sets. 

The collaborative is housed on the website,, the largest citizen-science platform in the world. More than 100 projects are arranged by topic, including space, ecology, climate, medicine, history, art and more.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
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