Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Halting Pay For 9,000 State Workers

Apr 3, 2020
Kevin McCorry / WHYY

Pennsylvania will stop paying about 9,000 state workers whose offices have been closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Friday.

Matt Rourke / AP

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House Coronavirus Task Force are both reviewing official guidance that people who are healthy don’t need to wear face masks during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

If the federal government changes its stance, that would be a big deal: Just more than a month ago, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams urged the public, in no uncertain terms, to stop buying face masks.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Independent bookstores have been an unexpected comeback story of the past decade. Since the 2008 recession, their numbers have grown nationally by about 50 percent, according to industry statistics – something most observers wouldn’t have predicted in the age of Amazon. Pittsburgh alone now has a dozen or more such bookshops.

All Of Pennsylvania Now Under Orders To Stay Home

Apr 1, 2020
Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

All Pennsylvania residents must stay home as much as possible for the coming month to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday as he expanded the footprint of the quarantine to include the entire state.

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.


Why Is Pennsylvania Leading The Nation In Unemployment Claims?

Apr 1, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Unemployment claims have reached historic levels nationwide as coronavirus mitigation efforts effectively shutter the national economy, and it’s Pennsylvania that is outpacing the nation in the number of claims filed.

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.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

It's been more than week since Gov. Tom Wolf ordered Allegheny County residents to stay home and many people have been hunkered down and/or working from home for longer than that. (Here at Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting, we've been working remotely for approximately 19 days, 2 hours and 30 minutes, but who's counting?!) 

With social distancing and #quarentinelife becoming the new normal, here's a look at Pittsburgh life as we all ride the coronavirus wave of uncertainty. 

Courtesy of Coston Funeral Home

While the number of Pennsylvanians who have died from COVID-19 continues to climb, families who have lost loved ones to the pandemic -- and to other causes -- are trying to figure out what mourning rituals look like during a period of social distancing.

EPA Relaxes Enforcement Because Of COVID-19, But State & Local Governments Do Most Oversight

Mar 31, 2020
Ed Mahon / PA Post

The recent announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency that it will not enforce violations if a facility’s non-compliance results from the COVID-19 pandemic created swift condemnation from environmentalists and former EPA staffers. 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Allegheny County first responders are now being given more information about their risk of being exposed to COVID-19 when taking emergency calls.

Marie Cusick / WITF

The state Department of Environmental Protection canceled seven public hearings — some that were scheduled for earlier in March, and some set for the next few weeks — to help limit the spread of the new coronavirus.  

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On today's program: How the nation’s $2 trillion stimulus package could land in Pittsburgh; what we know so far about PA’s record number of unemployment claims; and how home health workers are trying to stay safe during the pandemic.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

News on the coronavirus pandemic, including the responses of local governments, health departments, hospital systems, schools and other institutions. For information from the previous week, click here

Editor's note: This post will be frequently updated with the latest news.

 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

11:01 a.m. - Allegheny County confirms one new death 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

To get some sense of how hard the coronavirus shutdown has hit service-industry workers in Pittsburgh, visit the Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jar. The initiative to help patrons funnel funds to unemployed and underemployed workers was launched March 16. As of this past Friday, less than two weeks later, it had about 7,000 names.

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.

Google Maps

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

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Though Gov. Tom Wolf has mandated that all those in Allegheny County stay at home, grocery shopping is still considered an essential activity, and many stores across the region are still open for business. But when the most important thing we can do for public well-being is social distancing, how do we stay safe in grocery stores?

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Efforts to reign in coronavirus have made home the one place most people are supposed to be. Home has also become the office, school, a place of worship, and, for an increasing number people, the gym.  

Matt Rourke / AP

A shuttered reform school for boys in suburban Philadelphia may be used as a medical overflow facility as coronavirus cases increase and hospitals are pressed for space.

The Glen Mills School has medical and dental facilities, an air field, a generator and a more than 85,000 square-foot athletic facility that could host patients from hospitals and other health care facilities.

Christopher Spriggs, the acting executive director of the institution, said he offered the space a few weeks ago.

@CityPGH / Twitter

On today's program: Pittsburgh's mayor says it will be weeks before local coronavirus cases peak; residents ask whether the government should direct more resources to people struggling during the pandemic; and a look at how local arts groups are coping with widespread shutdowns.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvanians filed about 650,000 unemployment compensation claims over the past 11 days as the coronavirus has spread and thousands of businesses closed or laid off employees, according to new information released by the state Thursday.

KEITH SRAKOCIC / AP

The furnaces at Pittsburgh Glass Center have gone cold. It’s a small but poignant metaphor for an arts scene in almost complete shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

Zach Morris / Wikipedia

Jem Dittmar has been a Lyft driver for six years. Sometimes it’s been part-time work, but recently it’s been a full-time gig.

“I love working for Lyft,” they said. “I love people, I love driving, I love the schedule.”

Then coronavirus hit. St. Patrick’s Day weekend was the last time Dittmar drove; they headed out to ferry drunk revelers home, despite feeling a little under the weather.

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.

Matt Rourke / AP

A measure to delay Pennsylvania's primary election by five weeks, potentially past the spike of the state's spreading coronavirus cases, could fly through both chambers of the state Legislature to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk on Wednesday.

Courtesy of Northside Common Ministries

On today's program: How one homeless shelter is coping during the pandemic; why UPMC says elective procedures should proceed, even as resources remain tight; and farmers are declared life-sustaining, but it’s unclear where they can sell their food.

Ed Mahon / PA Post

Josh Juffe drove up to Freedom Armory, where a large sign describes it as “Your Second Amendment Connection,” only to find that the gun store was closed.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Childcare is the most pressing issue next to access to personal protective equipment like masks, says Matt Yarnell the president of the state’s largest union representing health care workers.

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