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Penn State Reports 458 New University Park Coronavirus Cases…Again

Penn State reported 458 more University Park students have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an update to the university’s COVID-19 Dashboard Friday.

The university administered 3,015 student random surveillance tests between September 18 and 24, resulting in 19 positives, 2,687 negatives, and 309 pending tests. Meanwhile, Penn State performed 2,375 on-demand tests in that span, which yielded 418 positives, 1,492 negatives, and 465 pending tests.

Coupled with Tuesday’s dashboard update, Penn State has reported 752 new cases this week.

The 458 student cases added Friday matches Penn State’s single-update high so far this semester. The university reported that many cases in September 15’s update.

Penn State reported 1,304 of University Park’s cumulative 2,123 student cases to date are no longer active.

It’s worth noting Penn State defines “inactive” as any case that’s more than 10 days old. At this time, it’s unclear how many inactive cases, if any, have actually tested negative and are truly dormant.

According to the dashboard’s update, 57 students are currently in on-campus quarantine, while 143 are in on-campus isolation.

In total, Penn State can house 250 people in on-campus isolation and 150 people in on-campus quarantine. The university also has an additional 140 quarantine rooms on standby if needed.

Since testing began on August 7, Penn State has found 2,123 positive student coronavirus tests at University Park out of 27,983 administered tests. Additionally, one employee has tested positive so far.

Currently, five individuals are hospitalized at Mount Nittany Medical Center, all of whom are above the age of 80, according to a hospital spokesperson.

“We have been extremely fortunate so far that the rapid rise in cases locally has not translated into the growth of hospitalized cases, however, this can change very quickly,” a Mount Nittany Medical Center spokesperson said. “We are gathering information and monitoring local trends daily, and we have plans that would enable us to flex our hospital capacity if needed.”

In a statement released Friday, Penn State President Eric Barron implored students to continue complying with testing procedures and access university resources when necessary.

“It’s important for our students to know that we have the ability to test them for COVID-19 quickly and efficiently. Any student who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or believes they may have been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual can be tested on any campus,” Barron said. “Additionally, we need students to understand that those who are selected to participate in the University’s random surveillance testing program are required to do so. It is a vital part of our multi-layered strategy to monitor the spread of the virus and it is not optional.”

Penn State plans to update the dashboard with new testing statistics twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. The tool incorporates data random surveillance testing, symptomatic testing, and self-reported testing through University Health Services or Occupational Medicine.

Penn State’s data and Pennsylvania’s Department of Health data may vary due to lag between test collection and test results from various labs.

Throughout the semester, the university plans to randomly test at least 1% of its population each day at designated locations around campus, including the Bryce Jordan Center and Eisenhower Auditorium. Random, university-wide surveillance testing began on Monday, August 24.

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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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