COVID-19

Marc Levy / AP

Pennsylvania corrections secretary John Wetzel said earlier this week that his department is taking steps to reduce the state’s incarcerated population, in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus behind bars. But prison-reform advocates argue that more dramatic action is needed to remedy conditions that they say amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

 

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.


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.

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.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

In an emergency petition Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania asked the state Supreme Court to order the mass release of inmates from county jails across the Commonwealth.

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.

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

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.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Council decided not to vote at its meeting Tuesday on whether to enact an emergency bill that would mandate the release of jail inmates charged with low-level crimes.  The bill, which seeks to combat the spread of the new coronavirus behind bars, will instead go to council’s public safety committee for review.

Gene Puskar / AP

Local police were prepared to enforce a statewide shutdown order for non-life-sustaining businesses on Monday, but said they generally expected businesses to cooperate.

GENE J. PUSKAR / AP

Despite directives from state and county health officials, elective surgeries are still being performed at UPMC facilities. 

Medical professionals employed by UPMC, speaking to WESA on condition of anonymity, said this decision may have dire consequences in light of COVID-19’s exponential spread.

While less time sensitive, elective surgeries are often medically necessary; examples include kidney stone removal, hernia repair and shoulder arthroscopy.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Democratic Allegheny County Councilors Liv Bennett and Bethany Hallam plan to introduce emergency legislation next week to slash the county’s jail population, the latest effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus behind bars.

Ariel Worthy / WESA

Pittsburgh public safety officials said they have taken extra measures to protect emergency responders as the city combats the spread of the coronavirus. Among the tactics: limiting the interaction between police and the public by having officers respond in person only to more serious calls, and handling the rest through a telephone reporting unit.

Marc Levy / AP

Prison-reform advocates and the state Department of Corrections jousted Thursday morning over whether the coronavirus has already infiltrated the state prison system – and over what should be done to limit its spread.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all nonessential businesses to close on Monday in response to the coronavirus, but grocery stores and pharmacies remain open.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Allegheny Health Network is offering drive-through testing for COVID-19 starting Wednesday in Wexford.

As more businesses shut down and stores limit their hours in the wake of the spread of COVID-19, we've compiled a list of stores that will remain open and their hours. We will update this list if anything changes. Think something might be wrong? Email us

Giant Eagle/Market District

7 a.m. - 10 p.m. 

*Customers who are age 60 and older can visit the stores at 6 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays.

Curbside pickup and delivery available.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

All bars and restaurants in Allegheny County have been ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf to close dine-in facilities for at least two weeks starting Monday morning, to encourage social distancing, which slows the spread of coronavirus. 

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

One of the first arts groups in Pittsburgh to cancel events because of the COVID-19 pandemic was Bricolage Production Company. About 2 p.m. Thursday, the theater troupe announced it had canceled this weekend’s installment of its long-running storytelling series WordPlay.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County is not following Gov. Tom Wolf’s recommendation that Pennsylvanians cancel and avoid any gatherings larger than 250 people, so as to discourage the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools said an employee will be under self-quarantine for the next two weeks, though the district is not concerned the woman has exposed students or staff.

 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On Wednesday, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of PittsburghDuquesne University, Chatham University, and Robert Morris University announced they are switching all classes to online instruction as the schools prepare for a possible spread of COVID-19

Ariel Worthy / WESA

The city of Pittsburgh has cancelled its annual St. Patrick's Day parade and an anticipated G7 Minister's Summit, out of concern for the spread of COVID-19. It has also halted all domestic and international travel for city employees unless essential. 

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.

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.