Science, Health & Tech

We cover these essential linchpins of the Pittsburgh regional economy, and how they impact residents' personal health and employment. 

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's COVID-19 death toll passed 6,000 as the state Health Department on Tuesday reported 61 additional deaths linked to the disease.

Mary Altaffer / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf is ordering Pennsylvania nursing homes to test all residents and staff for coronavirus at least once by July 24.

Wayne Parry / AP

Health officials in eastern Pennsylvania have traced 12 new coronavirus cases to a person who attended recent beach house gatherings at the New Jersey shore, the Bucks County Department of Health said.

MATT ROURKE / AP

Black deaths from COVID-19 are higher than white deaths due in part to institutional racism and social impediments, such as poverty. The Pittsburgh-based Black COVID-19 Equity Coalition is a group of public health researchers, businesspeople and elected officials working to address those factors as a way to secure better health and economic outcomes for the black community during the pandemic.

UPMC

Pennsylvania's largest medical system said Thursday that its inpatient volume has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels. Though certain areas of care at UPMC, like cancer treatment, are still not back to normal.  

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The coronavirus has infected another 511 people to surpass 73,000 total cases in Pennsylvania, and another 75 people have died from it, the state Health Department said Tuesday.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Many college students don’t know when they’ll return to campus due to COVID-19, but when they do, they will need a place to live. Some might feel pressure to commit to housing despite the uncertainty, and Pittsburgh lawyer Marcy Smorey is using artificial intelligence to help students be smart about signing apartment leases.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Federal investigators will soon release a report on what led to the novel coronavirus outbreak at the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center got nearly twice the federal stimulus aid of its closest competitors, new numbers show, despite the fact that many of its hospitals are in parts of the state that were not among the hardest hit by the coronavirus.

Matt Rourke / AP

More than 70,000 Pennsylvanians have been infected with the coronavirus, the state Health Department said Thursday, and 108 more state residents have died from it.

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

Despite new state guidelines that permit pools to operate under Pennsylvania’s yellow phase of COVID-19 reopening, many aquatic facilities in Allegheny County are likely to remain dry this summer.

Teresa Crawford / AP

 


On today's program: The NHL looks to restart the 2019-20 season with revised playoffs; pregnancy could offer insights into future health outcomes for moms and babies; the race for Pennsylvania’s 19th state House district heats up; and the “gig workers” of academia worry for their jobs. 

Changes Afoot At Hard-Hit Pennsylvania Veterans Home

May 27, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration announced a new leader Wednesday at the Southeastern Veterans’ Center, where nearly three dozen residents have died from the coronavirus and a state senator urged the replacement of its leadership.

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

Remember when doctors and public health officials were telling people they didn't need to wear masks? On February 29, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Powell tweeted, "They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus."

Courtesy of WQED

High school students finishing their coursework at home can now access Carnegie Mellon University-quality robotics instructions on television. WQED has launched a new show called “The Robot Doctor” geared toward supporting STEM teachers with curriculum anyone can access. 

U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION

On Friday afternoon, the state of Pennsylvania began reporting how many of its diagnosed COVID-19 cases were discovered through viral testing, and how many were discovered by antibody tests.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s Department of Health confirmed reporting by The Atlantic magazine, that the state includes results of both viral and antibody tests in its total number of novel coronavirus cases.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

Some individuals are forming so-called “pods" with small groups of friends or family as a way to expand social interaction while limiting exposure to the coronavirus. 

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

Availability of novel coronavirus testing in Allegheny County has significantly expanded since mid-March. Though some public health experts, activists and elected officials say many residents still lack access.

Pennsylvania Releases Data On Nursing Home Outbreaks

May 19, 2020
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Nearly 50 Pennsylvania nursing homes have reported 20 or more deaths related to COVID-19, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by the state Department of Health.

NOVID

Public health officials have cited contact tracing as a key part of lifting lockdowns and continuing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus; a new app developed at Carnegie Mellon University could make the effort easier.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

North Side Christian Health Center has set up a testing site for the coronavirus in the parking lot of its Deutschtown location. It's one of seven federally qualified health centers in Allegheny County that will now provide the service.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Pennsylvania state health officials are “being misinformed” about the availability of personal protective equipment inside hospitals, one of the state’s largest nurses’ unions alleges in a letter that says hospitals have “resorted to severe rationing” even as they resume elective surgeries.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

If you test positive for COVID-19, a contact tracer will call to find out who you interacted with since 48 hours before you felt sick. Some people, though, want the phones themselves to help with the work.

Mary Altaffer / AP

Allegheny County is set to move into the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s reopening plan on Friday. In its plan to restart the economy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Wolf administration said that in order for an area to reopen, there must be sufficient capacity for both testing and case investigation, including contact tracing.

Courtesy Dr. Faoud Ishmael

As two dozen Pennsylvania counties begin to reopen, bringing many people out of their homes and back into the workplace for the first time in weeks, those living with a wide range of preexisting health conditions are scared they won’t be protected.

VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System

 

On today's program: The U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs shares challenges facing veterans during the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19; changes to a Federal Reserve loan program could help oil and gas companies; and as Pennsylvania reopens, workers with pre-existing conditions fear the call to go back to work. 

Matt Rourke / AP

State health authorities revised Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 death toll upwards by more than 200 people Thursday – the latest in a series of efforts to bring the count in line with local totals. But other key metrics showed that both the state and Allegheny County are wrestling down the virus’ spread.

Allegheny County

The Allegheny County Board of Health on Wednesday held its first meeting since the stay-at-home order was put in place by Gov. Tom Wolf due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Matt Rourke / AP

Both Allegheny County and the state of Pennsylvania reported a spike in deaths related to COVID-19 on Wednesday – and separately, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration pledged to track the disease’ impact on the state’s LGBT community.

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