Live Blog: Coronavirus In Pittsburgh

The latest: State clarifies how it counts coronavirus cases. Turnpike faces revenue loss. All of Pennsylvania poised for at least a partial reopening.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

More Of Pennsylvania Emerges From Coronavirus Shutdowns

Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday he is easing some pandemic restrictions in Philadelphia and the heavily populated suburbs on June 5, while lifting them almost entirely in 17 rural counties next week as Pennsylvania continues to emerge from a shutdown imposed nearly two months ago to help slow the spread of the new virus.

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Politics & Government

Matt Rourke / AP

Less than two weeks before the primary, Pennsylvania House Republicans are asking the state to reverse its approval of Allegheny County’s limited in-person voting plan, saying it will create long lines at polls and disenfranchise voters.

Niven Sabherwal / 90.5 WESA

Democratic state House candidate Heather Kass withdrew a request for an injunction against her own political party this morning, but will continue to seek damages in a dispute over access to party voter information.

Photos courtesy of the candidates / 90.5 WESA

Republican Mike Turzai represented the 28th state house District for nearly two decades before announcing his plans to retire at the end of this year. None of the three Republicans vying for his North Hills seat would have the same legislative clout as Turzai, the outgoing Speaker of the House. But they still believe they can help guide the state through the coronavirus pandemic.

Science, Health & Tech

U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION

On Friday afternoon, the state of Pennsylvania began reporting how many of its diagnosed COVID-19 cases were discovered through viral testing, and how many were discovered by antibody tests.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s Department of Health confirmed reporting by The Atlantic magazine, that the state includes results of both viral and antibody tests in its total number of novel coronavirus cases.

Identity & Justice

YouTube

In the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s first live-streamed oral argument, the justices raised doubts Tuesday about whether state trial courts can ban people on probation from using medical marijuana.

1Hood Media / Facebook

 

On today's program: 1Hood Media is creating COVID-19 content by and for Pittsburgh’s black and brown communities; PennDOT offers guidelines for car inspections and registration renewals during the pandemic; and the economic shutdown is giving scientists a unique opportunity to study air quality. 

Katie Meyer / WITF

Immigrant families detained in Berks Family Residential Center were asked to sign forms this week that could lead to their children being separated from their parents, according to attorneys representing them.

Education

Playbook For Reopening Schools: CHOP Calls For Face Shields, Staggered Schedules, Temp Checks

May 21, 2020
Francisco Seco / AP

If Pennsylvania schools reopen their doors this fall, local health experts expect they’ll look quite different than they did before the coronavirus pandemic.

'Desperate' PA Child Care Industry To Receive $51 Million Lifeline

May 20, 2020
Emma Lee / WHYY

Pennsylvania officials are beginning to distribute $51 million of federal stimulus funding to the state’s child care providers, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday — a lifeline to an industry crucial to reopening the economy that advocates say is on the brink of collapse.

Lawsuit Says PA Is Failing Special Needs Kids During Coronavirus School Closures

May 20, 2020
Canva

A pair of Bucks County families have sued Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Education Secretary Pedro Rivera and the Pa. Department of Education in federal court, alleging that online education for children with autism during the coronavirus school shutdown has been insufficient.

Good Question!

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Bells, Horns & Sirens: The History And Distinct Sound Of Pittsburgh-Area Fire Station Alerts

Everyone’s heard the siren of a fire truck as it zooms down the street. But the sounds associated with fire alerts have changed over time. All around the Pittsburgh region, fire stations alert volunteers and the public in distinct ways.

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Development & Transportation

Courtesy of Gensler

The Pittsburgh Penguins will advance their plans for a 26-story office tower on the former site of the Civic Arena in the Lower Hill. The project won preliminary approval from the board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Thursday, a week after they moved to delay the vote, citing community concerns and documents received at the last minute.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

With the warming weather and the city of Pittsburgh squarely in the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening plan, more people are leaving their houses. A City of Pittsburgh task force has proposed a number of ways that streets and transit could be modified to balance the demands of physical distancing with an increase in economic activity.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Pennsylvania Race Track To Resume Racing, Flouting Shutdown

May 22, 2020
Google Maps

A Pennsylvania dirt track that says it’s already been cited twice for flouting Gov. Tom Wolf’s business shutdown was expected to draw hundreds or even thousands of people to its first auto races of the season this weekend.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The southern hilltop neighborhood of Allentown is a walkable community with a number of historic buildings and beautiful murals. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

One of the area’s largest and most stable sources of funding for libraries, parks and arts groups is cutting about $20 million in grants this year due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Environment & Energy

Has The Pandemic Cleaned Up Our Air? Answers Could Lie On Your Doorstep

May 18, 2020
Emma Lee / WHYY

Shari Hersh grew up in Philadelphia, hiking in Fairmount Park, biking along the Schuylkill River. She commutes to her job at Philadelphia Mural Arts by bike, and each day of the coronavirus shutdown she has either walked or biked the city’s streets.

Study Finds Methane Leaks In PA Are Much Higher Than State Reports

May 14, 2020
Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s prolific natural gas industry has made the state the No. 2-producing gas state in the country, second only to Texas. But the industry also releases a lot of methane, a potent greenhouse gas responsible for around 25 percent of global warming, a new analysis by a group of scientists working with the Environmental Defense Fund has found. 

Economy & Business

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate skyrocketed in April at the height of the state's pandemic-driven shutdown to its highest rate in over four decades of record-keeping, the state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday.

Local Headlines

More Of Pennsylvania Emerges From Coronavirus Shutdowns

May 22, 2020
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday he is easing some pandemic restrictions in Philadelphia and the heavily populated suburbs on June 5, while lifting them almost entirely in 17 rural counties next week as Pennsylvania continues to emerge from a shutdown imposed nearly two months ago to help slow the spread of the new virus.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

As warm weather arrives in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf will consider lifting a number of pandemic restrictions throughout the next few weeks. Allegheny County still operates in the yellow phase of reopening, but residents can enjoy Memorial Day weekend at the newly reopened state parks.

Food & Drink

Elena Shahen / Bloomfield Saturday Market

Farmers markets are beginning to return to the Pittsburgh region and like most entities, COVID-19 has changed the way they operate. Some markets have pushed back opening dates to make time to figure out what needs to change in order to maintain social distancing and keep vendors safe. 

National & International

In a decision with potentially far-reaching implications for November's election, a federal judge in Florida has determined a state law that would have required felons to pay any outstanding court fees and fines before they can register to vote is unconstitutional.

The ruling on Sunday by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle moves hundreds of thousands of felons who have completed "all terms of their sentence including probation and parole" one step closer to winning back their right to vote.

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