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University Park Adds 93 Student Coronavirus Cases, Continues Decline

Penn State reported 93 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 2,600 student random surveillance tests between October 9 and 15, resulting in six positives, 2,383 negatives, and 211 pending tests. Meanwhile, Penn State performed 1,708 on-demand tests in that span, which yielded 129 positives, 1,116 negatives, and 463 pending tests.

Coupled with Tuesday’s dashboard update, Penn State has reported 289 new cases at University Park this week.

According to the dashboard’s update, 59 students are currently in on-campus quarantine, while 91 are in on-campus isolation.

Since testing began on August 7, Penn State has found 3,448 positive student coronavirus cases at University Park out of 46,318 administered tests. Additionally, seven employees have tested positive so far.

According to the dashboard, 334 student cases remain active at University Park, while 3,114 are inactive. Zero employee cases are active, while seven are not.

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.

Friday’s added 93 cases represent the lowest report in Penn State’s last 12 testing updates. President Eric Barron released a statement acknowledging the quick decline but cautioned against a potential resurgence.

“I’m cautiously pleased to see that the data are showing a continued, steady decline in the number of positive tests among students at University Park,” Barron said. “Public health officials are hopeful that the numbers are declining as a result of our community embracing preventative measures like masking and social distancing. However, the data may not be reflective of the virus dissipating on campus or in the surrounding community, so we all must continue to take these measures, particularly in light of the growing number of COVID-19 cases across the commonwealth.”

Eleven coronavirus patients between 52 and 92 years old are currently hospitalized at Mount Nittany Medical Center, the hospital reported Friday. Six patients are from nursing.

Last week, Mount Nittany Health adjusted its operations following an increase of admitted patients.

“We’ve reached a critical point in COVID activity in our community, and we understand and share in your concern regarding the rising numbers of positive test results we seen in recent weeks, ” Dr. Nirmal Joshi, Mount Nittany Health chief medical officer, said in a statement. “Community members can be assured that at Mount Nittany Health, we continue to carefully observe activity both in the community and within the Medical Center.”

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. Students can also receive free walk-up testing at Pegula Ice Arena from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt is a junior majoring in journalism and Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football aficionado, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza. He loves Seinfeld, is really into video games, and would wipe the floor with you in Halo. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ for bad sports takes or email him at [email protected]

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