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Centre County Falls Into White House Coronavirus Task Force’s ‘Red Zone’

Centre County’s recent rise in coronavirus case numbers earned it a less-than-ideal grade in the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s latest report.

The task force’s findings placed Centre County and Indiana County in the report’s “red zone,” citing their average testing numbers are above the standard of 100 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents. The report also found both counties produced diagnostic test positivity results of more than 10%.

Meanwhile, nearly 10 Pennsylvania counties, including York, Chester, and Berks, fell into the “yellow zone.” These areas reported between 10 and 100 new cases per 100,000 residents and diagnostic test positivity results between 5% and 10%.

As a whole, Pennsylvania received a “yellow” classification after reporting 46 cases per 100,000 residents, giving it the 41st highest rate in the country during the week leading up to the report’s publication. However, the Keystone State’s figures are below the national average of 86 cases per 100,000 residents.

The documents noted some counties’ increased case numbers, including Centre County, are likely associated with the return of college students to campuses and the opening of schools.

Statistics aside, the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s report included recommendations to help curb the coronavirus’ spread across Pennsylvania.

Above all, the group recommended increasing high-volume testing and encouraging mask-wearing to prevent infection spikes as schools reopen. It also advised Pennsylvania to explore implementing wastewater surveillance techniques to detect potential casees early.

The task force advised colleges to develop plans for “surge testing” and isolation practices on campus. It added “strong mitigation measures,” including creating outdoor study areas, limiting bar patronage, and reducing student gatherings, should be required.

Last week, a New York Times report named State College the nation’s second-fastest-growing coronavirus hot spot in the country. A number of other college towns joined the borough on the list.

Centre County has reported 2,202 coronavirus cases and 11 deaths since the first case was reported on March 20. Penn State has reported 1,665 cases at its University Park campus since testing began on August 7.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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