Science, Health & Tech

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

David Zalubowski / AP

Despite mitigation efforts by the county to bring down surging coronavirus cases in Pittsburgh, new cases continued to be tallied in the triple digits this week. Officials blame a testing backlog for Tuesday’s record-setting 331 new reported cases

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania reported 781 new coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the statewide total to more than 98,000 as new, statewide pandemic restrictions took effect.

Sarah Boden

Due to the recent spike in coronavirus infections, the Allegheny County Health Department on Wednesday announced it has changed its recommendations for testing in order to meet demand.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania recorded more than 900 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, though health officials said nearly one-quarter of those were the result of a delay in lab reporting.

Hospitals Not Challenged Amid Rising Cases, Health Secretary Says

Jul 14, 2020
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's hospital system is not challenged at the moment by a recent rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, and the Department of Health is not considering any new restrictions at the moment, Gov. Tom Wolf’s top health official said Monday.

John Minchillo / AP

As coronavirus cases in the United States soar, Pennsylvania’s numbers show reason for caution, said health officials on Monday.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

When Bria Davis takes her 2 ½-year-old daughter Peyton to the grocery store or other public places, she often wears a little cloth mask adorned with two cats and the word “cute.” Davis tries to keep those outings to a minimum though, because keeping the mask on Peyton can be a challenge.

Seth Wenig / AP

Recent high school graduates are facing a myriad of challenges in light of the coronavirus pandemic.  Travel is restricted for those who had wanted to go abroad for a gap year. For some, lost income makes it impossible to afford college tuition. Others have safety concerns about living and studying on campus.

Gerald Herbert / AP

More than 220 children and teens in Allegheny County have been diagnosed with COVID-19, which is more than three times the number from just one month ago.

Jessie Wardarski / AP

Pennsylvania on Friday reported its highest one-day total of confirmed coronavirus cases since May, breaking 1,000, although some of the test results, 175, were reported on a delay.

Jessie Wardarski / AP

Pennsylvania on Friday reported its highest one-day total of confirmed coronavirus cases since May, breaking 1,000, although some of the test results, 175, were reported on a delay.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

UPMC says its positivity rate for tests among asymptomatic patients remains at 0.27 percent.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pittsburgh and the rest of Allegheny County reported a near-record number of new coronavirus infections Wednesday as state health officials expressed concern about the situation in southwestern Pennsylvania, but made no move to reimpose pandemic restrictions in border counties that are also seeing increased spread.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania is reporting its highest single-day caseload of new coronavirus infections since early May, although the state Department of Health said Tuesday that a significant portion are backlogged or delayed test results.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

An additional 450 people in Pennsylvania have tested positive for the new coronavirus, with nearly half the new cases coming from the Pittsburgh area, state health officials reported Monday.

Daylon Burt / International Dark-Sky Association, Pittsburgh

Streetlights emitting artificial beams through neighborhoods every night could be to blame for decreasing firefly populations and a generation of young people with no concept of what the Milky Way looks like in a starry night sky. A Carnegie Mellon University professor and self-proclaimed dark-sky defender, Diane Turnshek, is working with a small team to study the problem of night time light pollution in the Pittsburgh area.

First Penn State Student Dies From COVID-19

Jul 2, 2020
Min Xian / WPSU

A Penn State student has died from respiratory failure due to COVID-19.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Allegheny County reported 233 additional cases of the novel coronavirus Thursday.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is home to dozens of hospitals and medical facilities, from Level I trauma centers to neighborhood health clinics. Nearly one out of every five workers in the city is employed in health care. 

Wolf Expands Mask Order, Wants New Restrictions To Be Local

Jul 1, 2020
Tom Wolf / Flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration moved Wednesday to expand its indoor mask order to public places outdoors where social-distancing is impossible, while he also said that he prefers to let Pennsylvania's local governments handle further coronavirus restrictions, as opposed to the broad shutdown orders he imposed this spring.

Wayne Parry / AP

UPMC is telling its employees that they do not need to quarantine for 14 days after out-of-state travel. 


This guidance differs from the quarantine recommendation that the Allegheny County Health Department made on Sunday, after a week of particularly high case counts. But on Wednesday, the county itself has taken steps to clarify some of its recommendations – and health department director Dr. Debra Bogen called UPMC’s guidance a “clear and thoughtful” interpretation of county policy.


Gene J. Puskar / AP

With 109* new coronavirus infections, Tuesday marks the first time that Allegheny County's daily case count has exceeded 100. Like Monday, Tuesday’s cases account for roughly 17 percent of Pennsylvania’s daily total.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: Today, Allegheny County will begin enforcing a ban on consumption of alcohol inside bars and restaurants; local nonprofit Ujamaa Collective is switching its focus during the pandemic and protests against police brutality; and thousands of Pennsylvanians are being called back to work, but not all are prepared to return. 

Matt Rourke / AP

Allegheny County reported Monday that another 83 residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. These new cases comprise nearly 17 percent of all cases reported in Pennsylvania on Monday.

Argo AI

When a human drives a car, they know that what they see at any given moment may not completely represent potential obstacles in their path. For example, a truck could block a human driver’s vision of a pedestrian crossing the street, but a reasonable driver would consider that someone could be in the crosswalk before proceeding when a traffic light turns green.

Autonomous vehicles struggle with that concept.

Courtesy of Allegheny Health Network

Surgery suites at Allegheny Health Network have a new piece of equipment to protect against the novel coronavirus.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

In response to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases that Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald called “alarming,” the county is prohibiting on-site consumption of alcohol at bars and restaurants. The order takes effect at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Allegheny County health officials today reported 96 new COVID-19 cases, the second straight day that it has posted a record number of infections.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The Allegheny County Health Department on Saturday announced 90 new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily total since reporting on the pandemic began in mid-March.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The number of COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County continues to spiral upward. The county’s Department of Health reported 61 new cases of the disease Friday, the highest one-day total since April 23.