COVID-19 Coverage

WPSU is following the effects of COVID-19 on our central Pennsylvania communities. Here are WPSU's most recent stories on the pandemic and links to useful information.

Penn State Old Main building
Min Xian / WPSU

More than one in 10 Penn State University Park students who returned to State College for the fall semester has now had COVID-19, a WPSU analysis finds. 

Warren's Businesses Dealt With A Summer Of Uncertainty

Oct 19, 2020
Businesses in downtown Warren were quieter this summer because of coronavirus concerns. This file photo shows Warren from WPSU's Our Town episode in 2013.
WPSU

This summer, WPSU partnered with students in Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications to look at how towns in central Pennsylvania are doing in the run-up to the presidential election. 

In Warren, Pennsylvania, as in many towns this summer, coronavirus concerns and shutdowns made main streets quieter than usual.

Charlie Kox owns Allegheny Antiques, which is in downtown Warren. Kox said he’d been fortunate to keep his business alive during the Pandemic.

A sign that reads "keep you distance" on Penn State campus
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State is reporting 289 new cases of COVID-19 among students at University Park since last Friday, according to its COVID-19 dashboard.

There have been a total of  3,448 cases of COVID-19 from University Park students and seven from staff since Aug. 7.

Head shot of Todd Rowley with American flag in the background
Photo provided

The election is Nov. 3. WPSU is speaking with candidates in the race for the U.S. House in central and northcentral Pennsylvania. WPSU’s Anne Danahy interviewed Todd Rowley, the Democratic challenger in the race for the 13th Congressional district. Incumbent Republican John Joyce’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. The district covers several counties in southcentral Pennsylvania, including Blair and Huntingdon counties and parts of Cambria and Westmoreland counties. 

State College Area High School athletic director Chris Weakland talks about school's plan to bring sports back
Andrew Destin

 

On Sept. 17, the State College Area School District Board of Directors voted to allow sports to take place this fall, despite coronavirus concerns. State College Area High School hosted its first home football game last Friday at Memorial Field. 

Pennsylvania Confirms Virus Resurges; No Plans For Lockdown

Oct 15, 2020
CDC

Pennsylvania is “at the start of the fall resurgence” of COVID-19, the state’s health secretary said Wednesday, but does not plan to reimpose a stay-at-home order or shut down businesses again in response.

Wednesday marked the ninth consecutive day that Pennsylvania’s daily case count surpassed 1,000, and the average daily number of new confirmed cases is up by more than 50% over the past two weeks, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

Head and shoulders shot of Lee Griffin standing outside
Photo provided

The election is Nov. 3. WPSU is speaking with candidates in the race for the U.S. House in central and northcentral Pennsylvania. WPSU’s Anne Danahy interviewed Lee Griffin, the Democratic challenger in the race for U.S. House, 12th Congressional district. Yesterday, we heard from the incumbent, Republican Fred Keller. The district stretches from Perry County in the south, up to Potter and Susquehanna counties, including Clinton County and part of southern and eastern Centre County.

Dr. Deborah Birx spoke outside of the Penn Stater hotel in a mask
Min Xian / WPSU

More widespread testing and adherence to COVID-19 safety measures, such as masking and distancing, are necessary to prevent a resurgence in cases in Northeastern states, said Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, after a roundtable discussion with Penn State leaders, students and local officials in State College Wednesday.

Head and shoulders shot of U.S. Rep. Fred Keller standing outside
Photo provided

The election is Nov. 3. WPSU is speaking with candidates in the race for U.S. House in central and northcentral Pennsylvania. WPSU’s Anne Danahy spoke with Fred Keller, the Republican incumbent in the race for U.S. House, 12th Congressional district. Tomorrow, we’ll hear from the Democratic candidate, Lee Griffin. The district stretches from Perry County in the south, up to Potter and Susquehanna counties, including Clinton County and part of southern and eastern Centre County. Keller has represented the district since winning the seat in a special election in May 2019.

Head shot of U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson with a flag in the background.
Photo provided

The election is Nov. 3. WPSU is speaking with candidates in the race for U.S. House in central and northcentral Pennsylvania. WPSU’s Anne Danahy interviewed Republican incumbent Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, who is running for reelection in the 15th congressional district seat, which includes part of Centre County, and stretches north and west to cover a large part of the WPSU listening area including Clearfield, Cameron, Elk McKean, Warren and Forest Counties. WPSU also spoke with Thompson's Democratic challenger Robert Williams

TRANSCRIPT

Penn State Old Main building
Min Xian / WPSU

The number of positive COVID-19 tests at Penn State University Park increased by 196 Friday, since Tuesday’s dashboard update. That brings the total so far for the week of Oct. 2-8 to 287 positive cases, with 653 tests still awaiting results for the time period. The total positives at University Park are now 3,166.

In this file photo from summer 2020, a sign in front of the Mount Nittany Medical Center asks visitors to see a staff member if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
Min Xian / WPSU

The number of patients being treated for COVID-19 at Mount Nittany Medical Center grew to 13 Friday, an increase in patients that comes from both long-term care facilities and the community, according to a hospital announcement.

That’s about double the recent average of six to eight patients over the past two weeks.

 

 

Penn State President Eric Barron hosted a virtual seminar on Thursday for faculty and staff to ask questions about the university's approach to the coronavirus pandemic. The university is looking into new health protocols for the spring.  

CDC

Pennsylvania is reporting its highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections in more than five months. The Department of Health said Thursday that another 1,376 people tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. It was the second consecutive day that new infections rose above 1,300. Thursday's statewide case count was the highest since April 30, when Pennsylvania recorded 1,397 new infections. Health officials cite increased spread among college and university students.

Two masked students walking on the Penn State University Park campus
Min Xian / WPSU

Positive COVID-19 tests among Penn State University Park students were down by 30% last week from the week before, according to Tuesday’s dashboard update

The new total number of cases among University Park students for the week of Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 is 485, about two-thirds of the previous week’s 694.

A staff member of AMI Healthcare administered a COVID-19 test at the pop-up site at the Nittany Mall in State College on Friday, Sept. 25.
Min Xian / WPSU

Free COVID-19 testing at a pop-up site in State College will continue for another five days, as both the demand for testing among residents and the positivity rate from tests performed so far at the site remain high, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

A sign near the Nittany Lion statue urging compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines
Min Xian / WPSU

The number of Penn State students who have tested positive for COVID-19 at the University Park campus increased by 203 since the university updated its COVID-19 dashboard Tuesday, bringing the total number of positive cases among University Park students to 2,678, according to Friday’s update.

Head shots of Michael Berkman and Candis Watts Smith
The McCourtney Institute

The Presidential election is about a month away. Mail-in ballots, whether people will trust the election results, and the role of local politics are a few of the issues factoring into the race. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke about those topics and more with Michael Berkman and Candis Watts Smith from The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State. 

Penn State added 352 new COVID-19 cases among University Park campus students since the numbers were updated Friday.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State added 352 new COVID-19 cases among University Park campus students since the numbers were updated Friday, according to its COVID-19 dashboard Tuesday.

A COVID-19 nasal swab test is administered to a person in a car
Min Xian / WPSU

  

Free COVID-19 testing at the Nittany Mall in State College began Friday, drawing a long line of residents, as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s effort to contain the rising case numbers in Centre County.

Naomi Niyah, a graduate student at Penn State, went to the site on Friday morning. She said she hasn’t been contacted by the university for its surveillance testing program.

“I don’t like the current situation for testing so might as well do it myself here,” Niyah said. 

A mobile COVID-19 test site on Penn State University Park campus.
Min Xian / WPSU

The number of Penn State students at University Park who have tested positive for COVID-19 has increased by 458 — a 28% jump — since the numbers were updated Tuesday, according to the latest data from the university.

St. Marys Businesses Count On Local Support To Weather The COVID-19 Economy

Sep 24, 2020
A bird's-eye view of the city of St. Marys, Pennsylvania
Courtesy of stmaryspa.gov

COVID-19 is putting many small town businesses in Pennsylvania in a financial squeeze due to coronavirus closures and people quarantining. This summer, WPSU partnered with students in Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications to look at how towns in central Pennsylvania, like St. Marys, are doing in the run-up to the presidential election.

“You have to understand something about St. Marys. This is not a typical place,” said Ann Gabler. 

Matt Rourke / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A bill to loosen pandemic restrictions on bars and restaurants is on its way to the Pennsylvania governor, who has threatened to veto it. Lawmakers on Wednesday passed the measure, which would end a requirement that customers buy food when they purchase alcohol. It would allow people to be served drinks at bars.  The bill would also permit taverns and restaurants to operate at 50% capacity, or more if they can meet state and federal social distancing standards or erect appropriate barriers.

Penn State student Kaitlyn Harris did an asymptomatic saliva test at a mobile testing site in August. The university said Tuesday there are 433 total COVID-19 cases university-wide.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

 

Penn State is reporting a 294-case increase of COVID-19 among students at University Park since it last updated its coronavirus dashboard on Friday.

 

It brings the total number of cases to 1,665 students at University Park. The dashboard lists 23 cases among students at Penn State Altoona, with 17 still active. There are 33 students in quarantine at that campus.

 

Wolf Vetoes School Sports Bill; Override Attempt Planned

Sep 21, 2020
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a bill that would give school districts the sole ability to make decisions on sports, including whether and how many spectators to allow. Lawmakers are planning to vote to try to override Wolf's veto. Legislation that cleared the House and Senate would have empower schools to make their own rules about the number of spectators permitted at games. Wolf says his gathering limits of no more than 25 people indoors and 250 people outdoors should apply to youth sports to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

 

A pop-up testing site on Penn State campus
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State added 320 new cases of the coronavirus for the week of Sept. 11 to 17, as the university updated its COVID-19 dashboard Friday.

Gates to Beaver Stadium on Penn State's University Park campus in summer 2020.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State will have a football season this year after all, and despite precautions the university says it will take, concerns remain in the community about whether home games could contribute to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Penn State and other Big Ten universities voted unanimously to have a football season this fall, starting the weekend of Oct. 23.

In its announcement, the Big Ten outlined various precautions it says schools will take. Student-athletes will be tested daily, as will coaches and trainers.

Barry Reeger / Associated Press

Leaders of the Big Ten universities voted unanimously to have a football season this fall, starting the weekend of Oct. 23, according to a news release Wednesday morning.

Socially distanced dining hall tables at Penn State University Park campus
Min Xian / WPSU

The total number of COVID-19 cases at Penn State reached 1,145, as the university updated its COVID-19 dashboard Tuesday. 

The number of COVID-19 cases in Centre County saw a new spike Tuesday, which was up by 212 from Monday.
Min Xian / WPSU

The number of COVID-19 cases in Centre County saw a new spike Tuesday, which was up by 212 from Monday. This broke the previous highest single-day increase record set on Sept. 9.

There are a total of 1,449 cases in the county, the state Department of Health reported Tuesday. 

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