Matt Slocum / AP

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.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

There’s a lot we don’t know about the novel coronavirus. How many virus particles does it take to cause infection? Why do some people develop severe infections while others are asymptomatic carriers? What drugs might work as therapies for COVID-19?

Faced With 20,000 Dead, Care Homes Seek Shield From Lawsuits

May 3, 2020
Joe Minchillo / AP

Faced with 20,000 coronavirus deaths and counting, the nation’s nursing homes are pushing back against a potential flood of lawsuits with a sweeping lobbying effort to get states to grant them emergency protection from claims of inadequate care.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Fitzgerald said it’s no surprise that Allegheny County wasn’t among two-dozen counties where COVID-19 restrictions will be eased starting next week. But he’s optimistic it won’t be much longer.

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

County election directors, anxious about how the coronavirus epidemic could affect the June 2 primary election, are calling on state lawmakers to step in to prevent chaos at the polls.

Kate Landis / PA Post

Donna Partin is itching to give you a hand with the housekeeping.

Brett Sholtis / WITF

A state Senate committee on Thursday approved a motion to subpoena records from Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration about its handling of the more than 42,000 applications filed by businesses seeking a waiver from the state’s coronavirus closure order.

Coronavirus Restrictions To Be Eased In Rural Northern PA Counties

May 1, 2020
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday that 24 counties in rural northern Pennsylvania will see some relief from his strictest orders for residents to stay at home and businesses to close as part of a strategy to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board must allow distributors to send special wine and liquor orders directly to retailers instead of sending them to state stores for pickup, a court ruled Friday.

The PLCB can’t ignore a 2016 state law that permits the direct shipping of wines and spirits not sold in state-run stores, the Commonwealth Court ruling said. Retailers and restaurants have instead had to retrieve their orders, and pay a handling fee, at state stores that have been closed or operating on a limited basis during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf was preparing to announce Friday which parts of Pennsylvania will see some relief from his strictest orders for residents to stay at home and businesses to close as part of a strategy to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Lexi Ribar / Beauty Shoppe

When Pennsylvania shut down in response to coronavirus, many businesses didn’t know if they were essential or not. This was especially true for the coworking industry, where flexible office space is shared by all kinds of companies, including life-sustaining businesses required to stay up and running.

Matt Rourke / AP

The coronavirus pandemic has made the world feel small for many people. Some haven't left their neighborhoods in weeks; others haven't even left their homes. It's also impacting the people and businesses who supply our food, with numerous farmers and growers around the state having to alter their operations to meet changing demand.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr


On today's program: Journalists share the pros and cons of press conferences in the time of coronavirus; PA teachers are relearning how to do their jobs; and local arts groups explore new ways to work during the pandemic.

Gov. Wolf And AG Secretary Talk Food Supply, Meat Processing Plants

Apr 30, 2020
The Allegheny Front

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is sending a message about the food supply: there’s plenty of food and the state is adjusting to get it to people. Wolf along with the state’s agriculture secretary outlined how the state is addressing food security measures in a news conference Wednesday.

Emma Lee / WHYY

Pennsylvania election directors face the unprecedented challenge of staffing voting locations for the June 2 primary while also taking steps to protect workers and voters from the coronavirus (and handling a historic number mailed ballots). Many say they aren’t ready.

Pennsylvania's Business Shutdown Waiver Program Gets Audited

Apr 30, 2020
Matt Slocum / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf's business shutdown waiver program is being audited amid complaints it was managed unfairly, Pennsylvania’s chief fiscal watchdog announced Thursday.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Public Theater

Normally this time of year, the New Hazlett Theater would be buzzing with activity, and theater, dance or music nearly every night of the week – and even during the day.

The Diary Of Ms. B.: Tears And Triumph Inside A Philly Teacher's Virtual Classroom

Apr 30, 2020
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

On a Wednesday afternoon, sixth-grade teacher Lauren Ballester stared into an empty video call and laughed to herself.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Two Pittsburgh Public Schools board members told administrators Wednesday that the way the school district has transitioned to remote learning is unsatisfactory.

Nursing Homes Stricken As Pennsylvania Death Toll Tops 2,000

Apr 29, 2020
John Minchillo / AP

COVID-19 has killed hundreds more Pennsylvania nursing home residents than was previously known, state health officials reported Wednesday, underscoring the threat at long-term care facilities that have struggled for weeks to contain the coronavirus.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Construction across Pennsylvania will be allowed to resume in-person operations on Friday. The commonwealth was one of only a few states that idled the entire industry before making exceptions for some road and bridge work.

Jared Murphy and Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

During the first few months of this year, the 2020 presidential race dominated the country’s attention – until the coronavirus arrived. 

Keith Srokocic / AP


On today's program: Dozens of cancelled and postponed conferences, festivals and concerts are resulting in lower tourism and less money for local businesses; and four voters weigh in on how the pandemic has impacted their voting preferences. 

Pennsylvania's Unemployment System Still Stressed By Virus

Apr 29, 2020
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

More than a month after Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation system buckled under the strain of COVID-19, Colleen Angeli has yet to receive a dime — and May bills are coming due.

Angeli, a 60-year-old receptionist from Hershey, is among the record 1.6 million workers who’ve applied for unemployment since mid-March, when the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf began closing nonessential businesses in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Wednesday, April 8, saw probably the nicest weather since the coronavirus shutdown began: sunny and topping 70 degrees. At about 5:30 p.m. that day, the Three Rivers Heritage Trail was packed, at least for the mile or so along the Allegheny River between Heinz Field and the Veterans’ Bridge.

Pennsylvania Preps Reopening Without Mass Testing Capacity

Apr 28, 2020
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration plans to announce Friday which parts of Pennsylvania will begin seeing a step-by-step relaxation of coronavirus-related shutdown directives, although Wolf and administration officials did not project Tuesday when the state will secure widespread mass-testing capacity.

Provided by Dave Parsons

On a normal day, 12 presses and six furnaces run nearly round-the-clock at Catalus Corp., a powdered metal manufacturer in St. Marys, Pennsylvania.

Now, all are idled.

Ed Mahon / PA Post

As lawmakers returned to Harrisburg on Monday, state Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-Philadelphia) described what seemed like a new ritual.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's 500 school districts are facing a projected loss of up to 5% in the revenue from local taxes as coronavirus pandemic shutdowns take a heavy toll on the economy, a leading public schools group said Tuesday.