DEGREES OF DEBT: Penn State

Students relax on the lawn at Old Main on Penn State's University Park campus Aug. 6, 2015.

The back-to-school surge continues across the state, as evidenced by 102 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend in Centre County, home of Penn State University’s main campus.

Penn State recorded nearly 290 positive tests last week, with a total of 708 positive tests on its campuses since Aug. 7, the university reports.

“We need your help,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said Monday, addressing college and university students during a press briefing.

She said the largest increase of new coronavirus cases this month has been in the 19-24-year age group. In April, new cases were found mainly in older age groups.

“The most significant difference between the case increases we are seeing now, compared to what we saw in April, is that colleges and universities are back in session,” Levine said.

“College and university students are uniquely positioned now to help change the course of the spread of this virus by changing and adapting your actions to protect yourself, your friends and others in the community.”

Coronavirus spreading on campus can affect the communities around the colleges and universities, she said. Community spread can affect businesses, schools and long-term care homes in those areas.

“What happens on campus directly impacts everyone off campus and in the community,” Levine said.

The Department of Health has issued guidance requiring those who test positive to isolate, even if there are no symptoms. Those who are exposed to someone who has tested positive should quarantine for 14 days, even if they test negative during that period, Levine said.

Cambria had seven new COVID-19 cases over the weekend and Somerset had no additional cases in the state’s first two-day update on Monday.

There were 638 additional positive cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and 620 on Monday, bringing the statewide total to 145,063 cases.

There were no new deaths reported for Sunday and seven new deaths reported for Monday, bringing the state total to 7,869 deaths associated with COVID-19.

The health department did not issue a report on Sunday, which would have included cases and deaths collected on Saturday.

Monday’s report included data collected Saturday and Sunday – when there are not as many tests completed and death reports lag.

Cambria County had four new positive tests on Saturday and three on Sunday for a total of seven in Monday’s report.

Reports for other area counties were:

Bedford County, 10 cases – Nine Saturday and one Sunday.

Blair County, 15 cases – 10 Saturday and five Sunday.

Clearfield County, 15 cases – 10 Saturday and five Sunday.

Indiana County, 11 cases – two Saturday and nine Sunday.

Westmoreland County, 23 cases – eight Saturday and 15 Sunday.

There no additional deaths recorded for any local county.

Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.

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