Science, Health & Tech

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

John Minchillo / AP

Jennifer England was waiting to board her flight back home to Pittsburgh when she started to feel sick: a sore throat, a cough, body aches, fever.

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.

John Minchillo / AP

  On today's program: What we know right now about how Pittsburgh is preparing for COVID-19, and state health officials aren’t obligated to tell us much about who is infected; an author questions how long the American shale boom will last; BOOM Concepts urges young Pittsburghers to funnel their dreams into art; and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre marks a historic debut performance.

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

The Pennsylvania Department of Health said Thursday morning the number of positive COVID-19 cases has reached 21.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

Amid nationwide calls for more transparency around the coronavirus pandemic, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has for the first time released some data on testing for coronavirus. 

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. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

UPMC and Allegheny County are being sued after the hospital system allegedly performed urine testing on a woman and her newborn — without the woman’s consent — and then turned over the results to county officials for investigation.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed regulating two PFAS chemicals in drinking water: PFOS and PFOA. Also known as "forever chemicals" due to how difficult it is to clean them up, these compounds are associated with health problems.

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.

Matt Rourke / AP

While it’s widely known that breast milk offers babies health benefits, a Carnegie Mellon University researcher says it might also hold the answer to developing a better way for infants to ingest medicines.

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.

Convertsation

Political discourse is widespread on the internet, but online debates aren’t always productive. A group of Carnegie Mellon University students are using artificial intelligence to teach high schoolers how to have productive conversations online.

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.

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.

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.

Allegheny County

A pediatrician will be the new director of the Allegheny County Health Department. Dr. Debra Bogen is currently the vice chair for education in the Department of Pediatrics at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Pending state approval, she'll take over the role permanently on May 4.

This Rag-Tag Group Of DIYers Has An Answer For Rural PA's Internet Problem

Mar 4, 2020
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Henry McCreary and his friends were fed up.

In their part of rural Huntingdon County, access to high-speed internet was mostly limited, expensive and unreliable.

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.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Personal training is a popular but expensive option in the $100 billion fitness industry; it can cost an average of $40-70/hour. Local startup Delta Trainer is using artificial intelligence to make personal training more accessible.

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.

NIAID-RML / AP

On today's program: Allegheny County makes plans for a potential COVID-19 outbreak; why one climate scientist is breaking up with airplanes to decrease his carbon footprint; hear two sides of the debate about government health care; a barber offers political discourse with your monthly trim; an Erie-to-Pittsburgh bike trail could be coming soon; and competition is heating up ahead of the 2020 fish fry season. 

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.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

 

On today's program: Wilkinsburg gets funding for new strategies to curb gun violence; some PA public schools are struggling to meet the needs of immigrant students; child life specialists in Lawrenceville give sick patients a new creative outlet; and an international boat club wants to get Pittsburghers on the water. 

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