Science, Health & Tech

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

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.

Google Street View

“Ghost town” is a phrase that’s been used to describe medical facilities in both urban and rural Pennsylvania.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Both Allegheny County and the state as a whole posted only modest numbers of new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania's top prosecutor has opened criminal investigations into several nursing homes amid a coronavirus outbreak that has killed 2,600 residents of nursing homes and other facilities that care for older adults, more than two-thirds of the state’s death toll, his office announced Tuesday.

Seth Wenig / AP

Outside the nursing home where Julie Moore works, there are no signs thanking heroic health care workers. No volunteers bringing trays of hot food or homemade masks to her colleagues. Instead, day in and day out, there are ambulances. They pick up residents, take them to the hospital, and bring them back.


On Friday big changes are coming to southwest Pennsylvania as the region will transition from the red to the yellow phase of COVID-19 reopenings.

Keith Srakocic / AP


  On today's program: Hospitals want more money from the state after taking big financial hits during the coronavirus; Point Park University launches a new play reading series; and some Pennsylvania daycares are reopening amid major challenges.

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New Jersey-based Allaire Health Services will take over temporary management of Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County. The Pennsylvania Department of Health said on Monday that the company will remain in place until the rate of infection at the facility is “substantially reduced.” Allaire Health Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sarah Boden

The year a person is born strongly predicts how likely they are to fatally overdose, according to a new study from University of Pittsburgh.

Courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University

A new virtual reality device gives users another sense when it comes to VR experiences: touch. It was developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

The day after Gov. Tom Wolf announced plans to ease some coronavirus restrictions in Allegheny and nearby counties, Allegheny reported 31 new cases of the disease. In all, the county has tracked 1,486 cases of COVID-19 since March. Saturday’s total is on the high side for recent days, but still comfortably below the roughly 43-cases-per-day average needed to meet a state target for being placed in “yellow” status.  

Lynne Sladky/AP

Should you visit your mom this Mother’s Day? A doctor from Pennsylvania’s largest medical system says yes, while the Pennsylvania Department of Health seems to disagree.

Morgan Lee / AP

Nursing and personal care homes in Pennsylvania are among the hardest hit communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They account for about two-thirds of the commonwealth’s 3,106 coronavirus-related deaths.

The state Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a virtual hearing on the impact of COVID-19 on nursing, personal care and veteran’s homes.

Chairwomen Senator Lisa Boscola is calling for an upgrade in training and pay for those who work in such facilities.


Of the 352 COVID-19 cases reported between April 20 and May 5, more than one-third can be attributed to residents of long-term care facilities, according data on infections among its high-risk populations released by Allegheny County Wednesday.

New Cases Below 1,000 For Fourth Straight Day In Pennsylvania

May 6, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania on Wednesday reported below 1,000 new cases of the coronavirus for the fourth straight day, the longest such streak since the daily reports of new cases first reached four figures in early April.

Keith Srakocic / AP

One of western Pennsylvania's largest medical systems is ramping up non-emergency surgeries and other routine care, which have been on hold for the past six weeks due to the coronavirus. But it's not quite business as usual at Allegheny Health Network.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A University of Pittsburgh physician is leading an international effort to learn more about the link between COVID-19 and neurological symptoms, including stroke.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania has passed 50,000 confirmed coronavirus infections, state health officials reported Monday.

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.

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.


A smart thermometer company says its data show that Allegheny County’s social distancing efforts are paying off.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The health secretary of Pennsylvania says people shouldn't be expecting a quick return to their regular way of life even after pandemic restrictions begin to ease in some counties next month.

Nati Harnik / AP

As Pennsylvania looks to restart at least some of its economic activity, everyone agrees more testing for the coronavirus is necessary. But almost no one seems to know yet how exactly it is going to happen, or what the expansion will look like.

Carnegie Mellon University|Delphi Group

Carnegie Mellon University’s Delphi Research Group has published several interactive maps that provide insight into the spread of coronavirus at the metro area and county levels. This information could be useful as state and local officials consider easing social distancing restrictions.

Matt Rourke / AP

The Pennsylvania Department of Health slashed the state’s COVID-19 death toll on Thursday by 201, saying probable deaths it had previously included in the count were eliminated after further investigation.