UPMC

KEITH SRAKOCIC / AP

When a UPMC service coordinator received notification this month that it was her turn to get the COVID vaccine, she was surprised. 

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

State data show that COVID-19 hospitalizations in Pennsylvania have increased by more than 500 percent since the beginning of November. But administrators of the state’s largest hospital system continue to say that staff are capable of handling this significant influx of patients. 

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On today's program: A Pittsburgh bartender shares her experience working through the pandemic and two shutdowns; Major League Baseball is officially recognizing Negro League players—including from two Pittsburgh teams—as major leaguers; and a UPMC nurse says the surge in cases is overwhelming the nursing staff.

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Five UPMC employees were the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Pittsburgh Monday. UPMC received its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine at 9:15 a.m. at Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville. The first shipment contained 975 doses; the state of Pennsylvania is slated to receive 100 shipments, equaling 97,500 doses total.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

UPMC leaders said Tuesday their health network is busy with the rise in COVID-19 cases, but not overwhelmed. In a press conference, senior vice president Leslie Davis said the network is redirecting staffing and equipment resources to hospitals as needed.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA News

As COVID-19 cases spike across Pennsylvania, the state Department of Health says members of the public are increasingly reluctant to cooperate with contact tracers – and local public health workers say they are also encountering greater push back.

John Dillard / UPMC

Hospitals around the county are getting slammed with surges of COVID-19 patients.

The situation is not as dire in Pennsylvania, but as the state continues to see record-breaking coronavirus case numbers on a near daily basis, that could change.

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University of Pittsburgh and UPMC researchers plan to start human trials early next year for an antibody therapy that might both prevent and treat COVID-19.

Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP/file

Pennsylvania’s largest medical system reports that its COVID-19 patients are experiencing better outcomes than what was seen at the start of the pandemic, though it’s not clear why this is occurring.

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Earlier this summer the Allegheny County Health Department recommended that people who were returning from out-of-state travel should quarantine for two weeks, unless they could get two consecutive coronavirus tests that were both negative. 

KEITH SRAKOCIC / AP

A UPMC cardiologist is no longer the program director for one of the medical system’s fellowship programs after he published an article in a prominent journal asserting that affirmative action policies produce less-qualified medical students and residents.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

It’s getting harder to get tested for COVID-19 without symptoms in the Pittsburgh region. The Allegheny County Health Department suggests people who think they may have been exposed but are not experiencing symptoms skip the test and instead quarantine for 14 days.

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On today's program: An investigative report shows no support for a UPMC claim that the Pittsburgh region is seeing a “less severe” strain of the coronavirus; during the pandemic, the outlook for most of Pittsburgh’s independent restaurants is dismal; and a 94-year-old Rosie the Riveter is on a campaign for national recognition for the World War II heroes on the homefront.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

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

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. 

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.

 

KEITH SRAKOCIC / AP

Allegheny County continued its upswing of novel coronavirus infections, with another 45 cases reported on Wednesday. This follows Monday's count of 45 cases, which was the highest daily total in more than a month.

But UPMC, the state’s largest medical system, says it’s important to take a broader look at how the pandemic is progressing.

Jessica Kourkounis / AP

When faced with a new medical diagnosis, it can be difficult for some people to retain important information about managing symptoms, treatment options and prescription regimens. 

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.  

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.

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.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

UPMC says it plans to start increasing the number of non-emergency procedures it performs.

Marshall Ritzell / AP

Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients may provide a desperately needed treatment for people currently fighting the disease.

John Minchillo / AP

On today's program: Pittsburgh scientists apply nimble rules to the coronavirus treatment testing process; how some PA manufacturers are adapting to make protective equipment, with and without government approval; Meals on Wheels continues with new best practices during the pandemic; and an update on the long-awaited Mon-Oakland Connector plan.

There is no shortage of potential treatments for the coronavirus—the real shortage is the time to figure out which ones work best. But UPMC says it plans to use artificial intelligence to accelerate the timetable for winnowing out approaches that don’t work. And among the first drugs to be tested will be anti-malarial medication hydroxychloroquine, which President Donald Trump has touted in press conferences. 

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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On today's program: How one homeless shelter is coping during the pandemic; why UPMC says elective procedures should proceed, even as resources remain tight; and farmers are declared life-sustaining, but it’s unclear where they can sell their food.

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.

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.

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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.

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