Coronavirus

LIVE BLOG: Coronavirus In Pittsburgh, March 9-15

Mar 9, 2020
John Minchillo / AP

EDITOR'S NOTE: This blog post covers the events of March 9-13. For the latest on what's happening the week of March 16-20, follow here

News on the coronavirus pandemic, including the responses of local governments, health departments, hospital systems, schools and other institutions.

Google Street View

Due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus, UPMC is asking people not to visit the health network’s long-term care or skilled-nursing facilities if they are ill or have cold symptoms, even if these symptoms are relatively minor.

NIAID-RML via AP

A Montgomery County resident has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19, state officials said Monday.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA News

The two dominant health insurers in western Pennsylvania are picking up the bill for COVID-19 testing, when recommended by a medical professional.

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

Twenty-one people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California have tested positive for the coronavirus disease COVID-19, Vice President Pence announced Friday.

The Grand Princess had been returning to San Francisco after a cruise to Hawaii and has been kept away from port while a small portion of the roughly 3,500 people on board are tested for the coronavirus.

Pennsylvania Has First Two Presumed Positive Cases Of Coronavirus

Mar 6, 2020
Andre Penner / AP

Pennsylvania has its first two presumed positive cases of coronavirus, one in Delaware County and one in Wayne County, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday morning.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Classes were cancelled Friday at five schools in an eastern Pennsylvania school district because some members of its school community were exposed to a confirmed case of the new coronavirus, district officials said.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA News

Pennsylvania officials say there are two presumed positive coronavirus cases in the eastern part of the state. There are no confirmed cases in western Pennsylvania, though it’s possible that the virus is circulating, undetected, in the Pittsburgh area. *

To conserve medical resources if a potential outbreak does occur, the Allegheny County Health Department is recommending that people get the seasonal flu shot.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh area organizations have taken precautionary measures as the coronavirus spreads, and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey says emergency funds need more support. The Allegheny County Health Department has a new director, Dr. Debra Bogen, a pediatrician from UPMC Children's hospital. And, how will voters respond to a future Democratic presidential candidate’s stance on fracking?

NIAID-RML / AP

A Pennsylvania state laboratory is improving its ability to handle samples that it is testing for the new coronavirus that is sickening people across the globe, state health officials said Wednesday.

The lab can now handle about 25 samples a day and that rate should increase in the coming days after it gets a piece of equipment, an extractor, that boosts its testing capacity, a Department of Health spokesman said.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

While Pennsylvania officials made assurances Wednesday that the state's medical community is preparing for a potential coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey accused President Trump of not taking the outbreak seriously.

The rapid spread of the new coronavirus has health officials scrambling to educate the public on good hygiene and best practices. And the need to communicate those messages has resurrected a classic art form: the public service announcement, or PSA.

Because the coronavirus is a global concern, video PSAs are emerging from all corners of the globe, all at once.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Public Schools district is working with the Allegheny County Health Department to develop an action plan in the event that a case of coronavirus is confirmed in the county.

NIAID-RML via AP

A Pennsylvania state laboratory is now able to handle about six tests per day for a new coronavirus that is sickening people across the globe, state health officials said Tuesday.

The state's health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, said getting test results from the state-run lab in Exton is reducing the turn-around time significantly, making them typically available within about a day.

Though it's possible that coronavirus is circulating undetected in western Pennsylvania, the region’s largest health care system said on Tuesday that it hasn’t needed to test any patients at any of its facilities for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County says it is preparing in case coronavirus makes its way to western Pennsylvania, though there are no confirmed cases in the state.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: One lawmaker is urging Harrisburg to reconsider its definition of a health emergency; Pittsburgh is updating its pandemic plan; farmers say a new horse racing bill could do more than harm than good; and Sojourner House welcomes a new leader.

Maggie Young / 90.5 WESA

Lunar New Year celebrations were held in Pittsburgh on Sunday after being pushed back due to concerns over the coronavirus. Organizers of the parade waited until Saturday night for a final go-ahead from the state Department of Health so the parade could proceed. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

Amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus in multiple countries, Pittsburgh-area universities and high schools are ramping up preventative measures. There have been no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania.

Updated on March 19 at 4:14 p.m. ET

On March 19, the State Department issued a travel notice advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, citing travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines and potential severe travel disruptions due to airlines cancelling many international flights.

Updated at 1:11 a.m. ET, Feb. 29

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced late Friday that it is "aware of four new presumptive cases of COVID-19."

The new cases were reported in:

  • California (another possible instance of community spread),
  • Oregon (that state's first possible case of community spread),

Some of the most senior government officials assigned to the coronavirus crisis briefed House lawmakers Friday, and assured them that the Trump administration is not impeding their work or their communications with the public.

Representatives on both sides of the aisle have lauded some aspects of the outbreak response, while voicing frustration with others.

Updated on March 16 at 1:56 p.m. ET

Kids, this comic is for you.

It's based on a radio story that NPR education reporter Cory Turner did. He asked some experts what kids might want to know about the new coronavirus discovered in China.

As the coronavirus spreads more widely around the globe, scientists are starting to use a powerful new tool: a blood test that identifies people who have previously been exposed to the virus. This kind of test is still under development in the United States, but it has been rolled out for use in Singapore and China.

Pennsylvania Is Preparing For Coronavirus

Feb 26, 2020
Andre Penner / AP

Pennsylvania’s health department is preparing for the expected arrival of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Change Agency

 

On today's program: Community advocate Betty Cruz joins the World Affairs Council; lessons from an Ohio cracker could inform how environmentalists see the Beaver County cracker; PA’s educator of the year is a North Hills history teacher; a local nonprofit collects donations to fight the coronavirus; and the Holocaust Center celebrates the local Jewish immigrant experience. 

Terry Chea / AP

As concerns of a global pandemic amplify, some Pittsburgh institutions are taking precautions against the new coronavirus by restricting travel to China.

Pages