COVID-19

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. 

Students outside of State College Area High School on Jan. 8, 2018.
Min Xian / WPSU

Three students in the State College Area School District — one high school student and two elementary students — have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email from the district superintendent to families Monday evening.

The email said the high school student has not been in any district building this school year. The other two are Mount Nittany Elementary students. The email said “contact tracing showed there were no close contacts by these students connected to district schools.”

Federal Judge Rules Pennsylvania's Pandemic Restrictions Unconstitutional

Sep 14, 2020
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

A federal judge has ruled that Gov. Tom Wolf's pandemic restrictions that required people to stay at home, placed size limits on gatherings and ordered "non-life-sustaining" businesses to shut down are unconstitutional. U.S.

The College Township municipal building
College Township

The wrestling tournament that College Township in Centre County had tried to stop, saying it would violate COVID-19 restrictions, did take place this weekend, drawing an estimated 2,700 people and leading the township and police to issue citations.

According to a news release from the township, the municipality worked with the State College Police, the borough Health Department and Centre Region Code Administration. They issued more than 30 citations totaling about $10,000 over the course of the three-day event to the organizers and hosts.

The sign outside the municipal building of College Township, Centre County
College Township

Saying a wrestling tournament violates the state’s COVID-19 rules for gatherings and has the potential to be a “super spreader” event, College Township in Centre County is trying to stop the tournament from happening this weekend.

 

Olympic Club Duals is holding the event in the C3 Sports Complex off the Benner Pike. The tournament was scheduled to start Friday afternoon and continue through Sunday.

 

Penn State student walking across the University Park campus at the beginning of the fall semester.
Min Xian / WPSU

The number of COVID-19 cases increased to 708 at Penn State university-wide, as it updated its COVID-19 dashboard for the week of Sept. 4 to 10 on Friday. That’s a total of 493 new cases since last Friday’s update. While university President Eric Barron said administrators remain concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, the university is not moving to remote instruction.

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

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Centre County shot up by 184 Wednesday, in a spike that overshadows all previous increases and will likely raise questions in the community about whether Penn State can contain the spread among students.

According to the state Department of Health, there are 870 known cases of the COVID-19 in Centre County Wednesday, up from 686 Tuesday. That’s more than a 25% increase in one day. The previous largest single-day increase in Centre County was 47 cases.

 

The county cases include:

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 has 433 total positive coronavirus test results university-wide, according to Tuesday’s update to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard. The increase came from new cases added over the Labor Day weekend and from test results coming in from the previous weeks. 

Outside of the newly renovated Spring Creek Elementary School.
Brittany Krugel / WPSU

Calling it an “extremely disappointing turn of events,” the State College Area School District announced Friday it will move all of its schools to remote learning next week, an announcement that came the same day Penn State’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 174 more cases in the past week. 

In a letter to parents and guardians, Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said recent positives mean the district reached the state Department of Health’s “substantial level” of COVID-19 transmission and the recommendation at that point is “full remote learning.”

Penn State updated its COVID-19 dashboard Friday with data reported between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State updated its COVID-19 dashboard Friday with data reported between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3. In that time period, 174 University Park campus students tested positive for COVID-19. Of that total, 115 were from 1,092 “on-demand” testing. From the university’s random asymptomatic testing, 59 UP campus students tested positive out of 3,065. 

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

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase sharply in Centre County, particularly at Penn State and in the neighboring State College area.

There are 578 confirmed and probable cases in Centre County, up from 538 Wednesday, according to the state Department of Health. Thursday’s 40-case increase is second only to the 47-case spike Wednesday, the largest seen in the county since the pandemic began. 

Students outside of State College Area High School on Jan. 8, 2018.
Min Xian / WPSU

The State College Area school board voted 5 to 4 Wednesday night to close schools and take a day off this Friday, giving the district time to review new COVID-19 data.

 

The meeting came the same day Centre County saw its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases, leading to concerns about whether the growing number of cases in Penn State students will spread to the community at large.

Lock Haven University is moving to fully remote instruction starting today because of a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Min Xian / WPSU

Lock Haven University is moving to fully remote instruction starting Wednesday because of a rise in COVID-19 cases, the university announced Tuesday. The suspension of in-person classes will be in effect until Sept. 21, with the hope that it will curb further spread of the virus.

Signage for a COVID-19 collection site in State College, Pa.
Min Xian / WPSU

Centre County COVID-19 cases increased by 47 Wednesday, its largest single-day spike since the pandemic began, according to state Department of Health data.

The county has 538 cases — 491 confirmed and 47 probable — up from a total of 491 Tuesday. The jump comes as the State College Area School District has been grappling with if and when to move to remote learning — even temporarily.

The county’s numbers by zip code include:

Penn State is reporting 32 new COVID-19 cases since last Friday.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State updated its COVID-19 dashboard Tuesday with data reported between Friday, Aug. 28 and Sunday, Aug. 30. In that time period, 25 University Park campus students tested positive out of 268 symptomatic tests conducted. Seven asymptomatic UP students also tested positive for COVID-19. 

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

Updated: Friday, August 28 at 5:34 p.m.

Penn State updated its COVID-19 dashboard for the first week of fall semester classes Friday. It shows 28 new positive cases from a total of 4,664 tests conducted this week. 

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, many students are returning to colleges and universities across the U.S. 

In central Pennsylvania, that includes Penn State, Pitt Bradford, and Juniata College. 

Kevin Kinser is a Penn State professor and head of the Department of Education Policy Studies. He’s a senior scientist at Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education and has written several books about higher ed. 

Facing some community concerns, Mount Nittany Health said the community should feel comfortable in its capacity to treat a potential surge of COVID-19 cases.
Min Xian / WPSU

As tens of thousands of Penn State students return to the University Park campus for fall semester, Mount Nittany Health says the community should feel comfortable in its capacity to treat a potential surge of COVID-19 cases. 

Penn State Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said no disciplinary action will be initiated against students who participated in the East Halls gathering or the Pi Kappa Alpha party as long as they get tested.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State has begun investigations into two large social gatherings that violated the university’s COVID-19 safety protocols. But the university says it’s not considering disciplinary actions for those who attended. 

Carrie Jackson and Dawn Maguire, with the Holmes Foster Neighborhood Association, standing in front of a house.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

 

Penn State classes start this week, and as the campus with the largest student body in Pennsylvania kicks off the fall semester, many in State College are concerned that the arrival of tens of thousands of students could mean outbreaks of COVID-19.

 

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