Penn State’s Weekly COVID-19 Cases Near All-Time High

Once again, Penn State’s COVID-19 testing nearly produced record results last week.

From January 17 to 23, Penn State administered 7,272 total tests to students and employees, resulting in 631 collective positives. That mark fell just below the university’s 694-case weekly record since the pandemic began, which Penn State set back in September 2020.

Last week’s testing produced an 8.7% positivity rate, according to Penn State’s COVID-19 Dashboard. That mark is up from the previous week (7.2%) but lower than the previous three (10.5%, 13%, and 10.2%, respectively).

As of Thursday, January 27, 105 students are in isolation at Penn State’s Eastview Terrace complex, while 19 are quarantined there. According to a university spokesperson, Penn State is currently using about 53% of its quarantine and isolation capacity.

Students can test out of quarantine or isolation after five days if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving.

“Typically about half of those eligible to test will test out after five days, so we do expect to see these numbers fluctuating a bit more than in previous semesters,” said spokesperson Wyatt DuBois.

Effective this spring, the university no longer provides quarantine and isolation capacity figures on its COVID-19 Dashboard. A Penn State spokesperson said the data was removed from the online reporting tool since the university “did not have major use” of Eastview Terrace quarantine and isolation facilities.

Overall, Penn State’s COVID-19 cases have surged since the university reported traces of the virus’s omicron variant on campus back in December. The university has reported at least 1,787 cases among University Park students and employees since the start of the new year.

About 91.2% of students and 85.6% of employees at University Park are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Penn State’s COVID-19 Dashboard. The university doesn’t report (or ask for) booster shot coverage.

Only unvaccinated students and employees are required to get tested for COVID-19 each week. This spring, Penn State is revoking Canvas access for students who miss mandatory weekly testing appointments. Previously, unvaccinated students were placed on interim suspension for skipping three straight testing opportunities.

This semester, walk-up COVID-19 testing is available at the White Building on the following schedule:

  • Mondays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesdays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Thursdays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Fridays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturdays: noon to 5 p.m.
  • Sundays: noon to 5 p.m.

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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 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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