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Coronavirus cases at Penn State doubled since Friday

The 433 cases at Penn State are among more than 2,000 cases reported by some Pennsylvania and New Jersey colleges since the pandemic began.

A quiet Penn State campus earlier this month.
A quiet Penn State campus earlier this month.Read moreHEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer

The number of cases of the coronavirus reported by Pennsylvania State University has doubled since Friday to 433, according to the university.

The university has administered 13,169 tests on its campuses since Aug. 7, including both testing of people who have symptoms or are concerned about exposure, and random testing of about 1% of the campus population daily.

Penn State warned last week it was contemplating a temporary or semester-long switch to remote instruction and encouraged students to follow social distancing guidelines over the Labor Day weekend. University spokesperson Lawrence Lokman said officials are weighing the data, but have not made a decision.

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“We continue to be concerned with the numbers, and we will continue to assess our status this week as the results from tests administered later in the weekend are returned," Penn State president Eric Barron said in a news release. "We know our community is anxious, but these data are just some of the many variables we consider every day in determining our next steps.”

At Penn State’s main campus in State College, Lokman said things went pretty well over the weekend, with the exception of some larger crowds gathering on Saturday afternoon. Barron had issued a stern warning after a party outside freshmen dorms last month.

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The university continues to have enough space for isolation and quarantine, Lokman said. Nearly 150 students who have tested positive or are showing symptoms of the virus are in isolation, up from 58 on Friday, and 76 who have had potential exposure to the virus are in quarantine, up from 26 last week.

The Penn State case count is among more than 2,000 cases reported by the state and state-related universities in Pennsylvania and private schools in the Philadelphia region, including those in the Lehigh Valley and some in central Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The data are reported by the universities, which have coronavirus dashboards on their websites, but their methods for reporting vary. And not all schools have dashboards.

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Temple University, which switched to almost all remote learning last week, reported 283 “active” cases Tuesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, the total stood at 350. Temple spokesperson Ray Betzner explained that some students who have since recovered have come off the list. Bloomsburg University, which moved to remote instruction last month, had 267 cases as of Monday, according to its dashboard.

The University of Pittsburgh has reported 139 cases, 82 of which are active. In New Jersey, Rowan University has reported 147 cases since March 15, 97 of them since Aug. 25.

At Penn State, the bulk of the new positive results are from tests going back to Aug. 28 through Sept. 3, the university said. Some are from a more recent batch of tests. The vast majority of cases are at the main campus. Locally, the Abington and Brandywine campuses each have one case, according to the university.