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Blair, Centre see virus increases

Penn State reports 174 cases in week

Coronavirus cases are spiking in Centre County, and Blair County is also seeing an uptick.

The state Department of Health’s early warning dashboard reported Friday that Centre County recorded 171 cases between Aug. 27 and Wednesday, but the numbers have climbed since the state’s seven-day report with Centre recording 47 new cases Thursday and 37 on Friday.

In comparison, the county only recorded 31 new cases between Aug. 20-26. Centre County’s total case count was 615 as of Friday mornng.

The positivity rate for PCR tests, based on finding the virus’ genetic material, rose from 1.5 percent between Aug. 20-26 to 5 percent for Aug. 27-Sept. 2.

Penn State’s COVID-19 dashboard reported a total of 215 positive cases — including 174 for the period between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3 — on its University Park campus as of Friday evening.

Penn State will decide after Labor Day whether to switch to remote learning.

In a statement, Penn State President Eric Barron said, “We know the virus is here, and I am of course, concerned by the numbers and trends we are seeing. Our ability to manage transmission and rate of growth of positive cases is critically important. Next week, we will assess data following the holiday weekend, and determine whether we need to take mitigation steps at University Park including temporary or sustained remote learning.”

Temple shifts classes

Temple University announced Thursday that the majority of its classes will shift online through the end of the fall semester amid rising numbers of coronavirus cases among students.

In an emailed statement attributed to the university’s president and provost, the university said they had tried in-person classes because students had overwhelmingly expressed a preference to come back to campus.

But after talking to officials at the city Health Department, the university’s leadership decided to shift about 95% of classes online.

Students living on campus can opt to leave by Sept. 13, and the university will refund charges for housing and meal plans. But officials said students will be allowed to stay and services such as health services will remain in place.

The cases at Temple have been the cause of a recent uptick in cases recorded in Philadelphia.

Blair’s cases rise

Blair County saw new cases rise by 55 between Aug. 27-Sept. 2. Blair added three cases on Thursday and 18 on Friday, bringing its total to 490. The county’s rate for positive PCR tests was 5.2 percent for Aug. 27-Sept. 2, up from 3.2 percent the previous seven days, the state’s website shows.

Clearfield County saw its new case tally decline by one to 13 for the seven days ending Wednesday when compared with a week earlier, but the county saw a combined 11 new cases on Thursday and Friday.

Huntingdon County saw its new cases rise from 15 for Aug. 20-26 to 21 in the seven days ending Wednesday. Since that report, the county has added eight more cases bringing its total to 382.

Bedford County recorded a slight bump in new cases from six to eight for the seven days that ended Wednesday. It added two on Thursday, bringing the total case count to 176.

Cambria County saw 27 new cases for Aug. 27-Sept. 2, down two from the previous period. Cambria added six new cases each on Thursday and Friday, taking its total to 486.

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