WESA Local News

EPA Relaxes Enforcement Because Of COVID-19, But State & Local Governments Do Most Oversight

Mar 31, 2020
Ed Mahon / PA Post

The recent announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency that it will not enforce violations if a facility’s non-compliance results from the COVID-19 pandemic created swift condemnation from environmentalists and former EPA staffers. 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Allegheny County first responders are now being given more information about their risk of being exposed to COVID-19 when taking emergency calls.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: How COVID-19 is affecting media outlets in Pittsburgh; funerals are evolving to allow for social distancing; and what newly greening plants can teach us about climate change.

What The Pennsylvania National Guard Does When The Governor Calls

Mar 31, 2020
Rich Pedroncelli / AP

More than 8,000 members of the National Guard have mobilized across the United States to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wolf Closes Schools, Nonessential Businesses Indefinitely

Mar 30, 2020
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday that all schools and nonessential businesses will remain closed indefinitely as Pennsylvania reported nearly 700 new cases of the coronavirus.

MICHAEL BRYANT

With the rate of new coronavirus cases rapidly increasing in Pennsylvania and across the United States, some of the country’s top scientists are racing to understand how bad the outbreak is going to get and what measures can be taken to save as many lives as possible.

Marie Cusick / WITF

The state Department of Environmental Protection canceled seven public hearings — some that were scheduled for earlier in March, and some set for the next few weeks — to help limit the spread of the new coronavirus.  

Google

 


On today's program: How the nation’s $2 trillion stimulus package could land in Pittsburgh; what we know so far about PA’s record number of unemployment claims; and how home health workers are trying to stay safe during the pandemic.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

In an emergency petition Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania asked the state Supreme Court to order the mass release of inmates from county jails across the Commonwealth.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

News on the coronavirus pandemic, including the responses of local governments, health departments, hospital systems, schools and other institutions. For information from the previous week, click here

Editor's note: This post will be frequently updated with the latest news.

 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

11:01 a.m. - Allegheny County confirms one new death 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

To get some sense of how hard the coronavirus shutdown has hit service-industry workers in Pittsburgh, visit the Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jar. The initiative to help patrons funnel funds to unemployed and underemployed workers was launched March 16. As of this past Friday, less than two weeks later, it had about 7,000 names.

Seth Weing / AP

Medical marijuana dispensaries have implemented curbside pick-up, online ordering, and set designated shopping hours for the nearly 153,000 Pennsylvanians who receive cannabis through the state program. 

Courtesy Soul Fire Farm

Jameson Altott has been trying to live a self-sustaining lifestyle for years, to give as much back to nature as he takes. Part of that has meant growing as much of his own food as possible.

Gov. Tom Wolf

Four more Pennsylvanians have died from COVID-19 complications, including the first Bucks County resident and the second in Lancaster County, according to officials’ daily updates provided Sunday.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Heather Kass, the state House candidate whose campaign has been a lightning rod for local Democrats this spring, has survived a challenge to her nominating petitions. But not by much.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania increased by more than 640 over the past day and four more people died, the state Health Department announced Sunday.

Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf is expanding his order for residents to stay at home in most circumstances to almost one-third of Pennsylvania's counties amid an increase in cases and a dozen more deaths that brought the total to 34.

Stay-At-Home Order Expands As Overflow Facilities Get Ready

Mar 28, 2020
Matt Slocum / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf put another 2.5 million Pennsylvania residents under an order that restricts people from leaving home Friday, as his administration confirmed more coronavirus cases and deaths and major facilities were enlisted to help with hospital overflows.

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.

Google Maps

Two residents at an Allegheny County-run nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19.

Wolf Vetoes Natural Gas Tax-Break Bill

Mar 27, 2020
Keith Srakocic / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a bill that would offer tax breaks to companies that use Pennsylvania natural gas to produce fertilizers and other chemicals.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

More than 700 child care providers across Pennsylvania have been issued waivers to remain open if they care for children of essential workers. The state Department of Human Services launched a new tool Friday to help connect parents with those providers.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Though Gov. Tom Wolf has mandated that all those in Allegheny County stay at home, grocery shopping is still considered an essential activity, and many stores across the region are still open for business. But when the most important thing we can do for public well-being is social distancing, how do we stay safe in grocery stores?

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Efforts to reign in coronavirus have made home the one place most people are supposed to be. Home has also become the office, school, a place of worship, and, for an increasing number people, the gym.  

Matt Rourke / AP

A shuttered reform school for boys in suburban Philadelphia may be used as a medical overflow facility as coronavirus cases increase and hospitals are pressed for space.

The Glen Mills School has medical and dental facilities, an air field, a generator and a more than 85,000 square-foot athletic facility that could host patients from hospitals and other health care facilities.

Christopher Spriggs, the acting executive director of the institution, said he offered the space a few weeks ago.

90.5 WESA

To avoid going out in public, many are turning to online ordering and delivery for basic necessities like groceries. But the coronavirus has created obstacles for many who rely on food stamps. In many states  people who receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are not allowed to use their benefits to order groceries online and have them delivered.

Courtesty of Marco for PA and Friends of Lissa

The 30th State House district has long been a Republican bastion. But Democrats in the North Hills district have a choice this primary season between candidates who agree on many issues, but differ over the natural gas and petrochemical industries.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

It's week two of extreme social distancing in Pittsburgh, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Allegheny County and a number of other Pennsylvania counties are under a "stay-at-home" order from Gov. Tom Wolf. 

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Members of Allegheny County Council have abandoned legislation that would have mandated the release of jail inmates charged with low-level crimes. 

Courtesy Homeless Children's Education Fund

Prolonged school closures are expected to disproportionately impact children and youth experiencing homelessness.

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