"In Pennsylvania and the United States at large, we need scalable contact tracing and testing to most appropriately place people in quarantine," writes retired physician Barbara W. Brandom. "If it’s not done, COVID-19 will spread here as social distancing guidelines are relaxed." (Courtesy photo)

As a career healthcare professional, I believe PA should follow the Hong Kong model of testing and contact tracing.

Now is the time that reliable and expansive public health efforts, which have shut down this pandemic in other parts of the world, must be implemented in the United States. We need easily accessible, widespread testing for SARS-CoV-2, so that people with positive test results and minimal or no symptoms go into quarantine and do not infect other people unknowingly.

Some University of Pittsburgh's students, faculty and alumni are upset that it accepted $4.2 million in funding from the Charles Koch Foundation for a new center to study politics, markets and technology.

Pennsylvania’s leading COVID-19 modeler explains how life might start returning back to normal and what might not

The FRED model uses information about where and how residents interact at school, work and in their neighborhoods, to predict the spread of diseases like influenza, H1N1 and dengue. Applied to COVID-19, the model predicts that, with statewide social distancing, the state can limit the number of total hospitalizations to 100,000 and that the peak number of hospitalizations can be delayed for hundreds of days, enough time to potentially make additional healthcare resources available.

I’m a Bellevue mom with COVID-19, coping with a lack of air and separation from my daughter

It seems like a year ago, but it was only three weeks ago that things began to fall apart. On Friday, March 13, my first-grade daughter did not have school. It was planned, and had been on the calendar all year for the Northgate school district. 

We had started to hear different reports about COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, but I was like everybody else, thinking, “Oh, it’s just a virus, we will see.”

That planned three-day weekend became the start of a new normal. The district canceled school for two weeks, and the murmur was that it would be much longer. My daughter's father and I do not live together and we were both working at the time.

Endocrinologist Dr. Monica Gomberg has seen a decline in patients in her private practice since the COVID-19 outbreak began in the U.S.. (Photo by Kimberly Rowen/PublicSource)

Allegheny County’s independent medical providers are struggling to stay open, even as healthcare system braces for COVID-19 influx

Doctors at three independent offices told PublicSource that they are considering cutting back hours and staff — or have already done so. To comply with an order from Gov. Wolf to stop elective surgeries, some local providers have had to cut out some or all of their business. And many patients are canceling and delaying their appointments. While some patients have turned toward telemedicine, it still hasn't been enough to offset the lost revenue.

Thousands of patients in Pittsburgh region have turned to telemedicine due to coronavirus fears

As people in the Pittsburgh area are seeking advice about the coronavirus without exposing or being exposed to the virus, local hospitals have been seeing the number of patients seeking urgent care by video chat skyrocket in recent days, according to UPMC and Allegheny Health Network. Conversely, the number of patients seeking urgent care in person has fallen.

Vulnerable communities: How Pittsburgh-area low-income housing providers are responding to COVID-19

Update (3/24/20): The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh will hold its monthly board meeting at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 26, remotely. Members of the public can join and listen to the meeting by calling 646-558-8656 and entering 669381214 followed by a #, and can submit comments in advance here. Update (3/20/20): The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh on Thursday evening closed its offices and scaled back its operations to comply with guidance on the novel coronavirus crisis coming from health and public safety officials. Authority employees will continue to "provide remote services" by phone and email, according to a press release. Most social services provided by the authority or by organizations on its behalf are on hold, as are tenant meetings.