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.

Gov. Tom Wolf speaks at a press conference in Harrisburg about the arrival of coronavirus in Pennsylvania on Friday, March 6, 2020. At rear is state Health Secretary Rachel Levine.
Commonwealth Media Services

Editor’s note: This story was updated with details from the governor’s 2 p.m. press conference.

(Harrisburg) — Gov. Tom Wolf has announced that beginning Friday, the state will begin social distancing measures in response to the spread of the coronavirus. This plan is slated to last for 14 days, but will be continually evaluated.

“We’ve watched as other states, we’ve watched as other countries have struggled to control this coronavirus,” Gov. Wolf said, “and we’ve learned a lot from their efforts.”

Department Of Health Releases Coronavirus Testing Data

Mar 11, 2020
Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Karen Zimmerman, prepares a master mix for PCR inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on Friday, March 6, 2020.
Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

(Harrisburg) — Amid nationwide calls for more transparency around the coronavirus pandemic, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has for the first time released some data on testing for coronavirus. 

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, the state has tested 175 people for the coronavirus in the week since it began testing at its facility in Exton. 

Of those people, 16 tested positive. 

So far two of those 16 have had their test results double-checked by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a standard practice, according to the Pennsylvania Health Department. 

Durrwachter Alumni Conference Center building
User:Ruhrfisch - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8138315

Lock Haven University, Juniata College and the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford are all moving to online instruction due to coronavirus concerns. All three are currently in spring break and will temporarily suspend classes next week while they prepare to move classes online starting March 23. 

State High building
Min Xian / WPSU

All schools in the State College Area School District will stay out of session for students until March 20, 2020 because of coronavirus concerns, superintendent Bob O’Donnell informed parents in an email today. 

“At this time, we believe that is the right step to take for the health and safety of our SCASD families, employees, and the community at large — especially to protect our students and employees who are immunosuppressed or at greater risk due to age and other reasons,” O’Donnell said.

Old Main
WPSU

Penn State announced that it is canceling in-person classes and switching to remote, online learning at least through April 3. Penn State is currently on spring break, and the university is discouraging all students from returning after the break, even if they live off-campus.

There are no known cases on any of the Penn State campuses. 

Penn State's Beaver Stadium is usually packed for "Whiteout games," but due to COVID-19 there will be no fans this Saturday.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Each year, the Blue-White game draws tens of thousands of people to the University Park campus. The scrimmage gives Nittany Lions fans a preview of the football players and serves as a popular social event.

But now, as the number of known cases of the coronavirus in the United States continues to climb, Penn State is reviewing its upcoming events, including the annual Blue-White Game, scheduled for April 18.

Woman standing in lab performing tests in Miami
Brynn Anderson / AP

As coronavirus continues to spread, Penn State University is planning for both the short-term and the long-run, including restricting some overseas trips. 

Spring break is next week, and Penn State Provost Nick Jones said the university is getting ready.

“At the end of the day it is difficult for us to manage the travel of thousands of students," Jones said. "That said, what we are trying to prepare for is the return of those students.”

As director of Global Programs, Jennifer Campbell oversees Penn State’s international community. She says her office has helped Penn State’s Chinese students by giving deferments to incoming students, assisting in buying medical equipment and by translating press releases about the disease to ensure correct information is spread.

“It’s when misinformation, disinformation happens I think that causes fear or panic that’s when you can kind of have more concerns than just the actual virus,” she said.

TRANSCRIPT:

You’re listening to WPSU’s Health Minute, a collaboration with Penn State’s College of Nursing.

The new coronavirus, which has sickened thousands and killed more than 80 people in Wuhan, China, has now been confirmed in the United States. It can cause fever, severe illness, and pneumonia. 

The CDC does not expect a large outbreak in the U.S., but they’re monitoring everyone who recently visited the now quarantined Wuhan region. 

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