Sara Simon is an investigative data reporter for Spotlight PA.

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Spotlight PA

Pa.’s failure to mandate quicker death reporting before the coronavirus fueled wild data fluctuations, mistrust

An investigation found state health officials abandoned their urgency in implementing a faster process, leaving them ill-prepared to accurately report death data when the pandemic arrived.

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Are antigen tests the silver bullet to Pa.’s coronavirus testing delays? Not so fast.

Here's everything you need to know about the different coronavirus tests and what they can — and can't — tell you.

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Penn State reverses course, plans to provide modified COVID-19 agreement for students

Some had criticized the university for forcing students to "assume any and all risk" of contracting the virus, which they said amounted to a liability waiver.

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Students at Penn State forced to sign COVID-19 liability waiver to participate in fall semester

Other universities across the country have required similar waivers, but students and legal experts say Penn State’s crosses the line.

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Pa. cancels training session for coronavirus contact tracer volunteers, moves to hire 1,000 paid staff

Despite the state’s struggles to keep case counts low, the department told volunteers it planned to wait until the fall to resume trainings.

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Pa. health secretary denounces transphobic attacks: ‘Our children are watching’

As the face of the state’s COVID-19 response, Health Secretary Rachel Levine has been the subject of numerous personal attacks.

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Citing ‘overwhelming’ spread, Pa. moves to add staff, app to trace the coronavirus

There are currently 661 contact tracers across the state. The health department wants to add potentially thousands more.

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University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s claim of ‘less severe’ coronavirus strain in Pa. is not supported by science

The health system said a recent study backed up its assertion. But the study itself contradicts UPMC’s own takeaways.

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Health officials failed to safeguard trust in Pa.’s coronavirus data, sowing confusion

The pandemic posed a massive challenge for an underfunded public health system, but experts say officials failed to heed best practices when presenting the numbers.

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Pa.’s death toll for Philadelphia lags behind city’s count, part of state’s ongoing struggle to compile timely data

State officials have blamed software upgrades gone wrong, troublesome algorithms, and a wonky web of disjointed technologies.