Coronavirus: What You Need To Know

 

A paramedic wearing a mask gets out of a tent set up by the Italian Civil Protection outside the emergency ward of the Piacenza hospital, northern Italy, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.
Credit Claudio Furlan / Lapresse via AP

This page will be frequently updated with the latest facts and news about the coronavirus, from both our community and around the world.

Coronavirus is a novel virus first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Coronavirus causes the COVID-19 disease in humans; the disease has spread to the U.S. and other countries around the world.  

 

The disease causes respiratory illness and is spread through the air by coughs and sneezes, and by personal contact. Its symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. There is no approved vaccine for this virus.

 

To prevent contraction of coronavirus, officials recommend people frequently wash their hands.

 

For the latest coverage of the Pittsburgh area's preparation for coronavirus, please follow WESA's live blog.

 

Here’s what we know:

Pennsylvania Court Turns Down Lawmakers' Bid To End Shutdown

15 hours ago
Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s high court on Wednesday ruled against an effort by Republican state lawmakers to end Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown orders.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania state government finished its fiscal year about 9% short of its initial revenue estimate, a result of the state’s coronavirus-related shutdowns and delayed tax-filing deadlines, the Department of Revenue said Wednesday.

Wolf Expands Mask Order, Wants New Restrictions To Be Local

16 hours ago
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.

Ed Mahon / PA Post

More than 4,500 COVID-19 deaths in Pennsylvania are associated with nursing homes or personal care homes.

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.

 

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. 

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

About 20 of Pittsburgh’s independent music venues and promoters have joined a national effort to get federal relief for their industry, which has been sidelined during the coronavirus pandemic. Venues and promoters that present music and comedy said the shutdown has hit them especially hard, and there is no end in sight.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

 


On today's program: A look at what economic recovery from the shutdown might look like in southwestern Pennsylvania; YWCA Greater Pittsburgh returns to its core mission; and as businesses across the country reopen, music venues continue to struggle. 

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.

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.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

For the first time in more than 160 years, the Big Butler Fair has been canceled. Like county fairs across the country, fairs in Western Pennsylvania have been called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But a handful of food vendors are still serving sausage sandwiches, fresh lemonade, funnel cakes and fried Oreos this summer.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Anger over entrenched racism and white supremacy in American culture is boiling over, after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other black people at the hands of police and private citizens. Regular protests continue in Pittsburgh and across the country, but many activists have pivoted from simply expressing rage to making demands.

And, after more than a month of COVID-19 case counts trending downward, Allegheny County saw a spike over the past week. Since last Friday, the county has reported 199 new cases.

Ted S. Warren / AP

 

On today's program: Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor is encouraging people with nonviolent marijuana-related convictions to apply for pardons; a new executive order aims to limit the number of legal immigrants coming to the U.S.; and polls suggest most Americans support police reform, but how might that impact their choices at the ballot box in November? 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's ability to provide food assistance benefits without in-person interviews is set to expire July 31, and Gov. Tom Wolf is asking the federal government to extend waivers related to the program during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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.

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