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Health Department Confirms First Case of COVID-19 in Centre County

The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Friday confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Centre County as the number of people in Pennsylvania who have tested positive for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus continue to spike.

Mount Nittany Health later reported that two patients within its system have tested positive and both are currently at home in isolation. Spokeswoman Anissa Ilie said Department of Health reports of positive test results list the patient’s county of permanent residence, not where they were tested.

“Our team of expert healthcare providers, staff, and multidisciplinary Preparedness and Response Team have been carefully preparing for this and expecting this day to come,” Dr. Nirmal Joshi, Mount Nittany Health System’s chief medical officer said in a statement. “As always, the safety of our patients, staff and community remains our highest priority.” 

A statement from State College Borough said multiple agencies are coordinating to quarantine or isolate individuals as needed.

‘The Borough and other Centre Region communities will continue to work with the DOH, Centre Region Emergency Management Agency, Infectious Hazardous Planning Group, and the Centre County Government to ensure any affected residents are properly monitored, quarantined, and isolated as each case dictates,’ the statement said.

Friday saw another spike in confirmed cases across the Commonwealth, with 83 new positive cases of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, bringing the state’s total to 268. All people who have tested positive are either in isolation at home or in the hospital.

“Our notable increase in cases over the last few days indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.”

Across Pennsylvania, 2,574 patients have tested negative. There has been one death, an adult in Northampton County. 

Because commercial labs are also testing in addition to hospitals and the state lab, complete data on the number of tests pending is not available, according to the health department.

On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all ‘non-life-sustaining’ businesses to close to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Throughout the United States, there have been more than 13,000 confirmed cases of COVID 19. Worldwide there have been more than 250,000 cases, 10,000 deaths and 87,000 people who have recovered.

Mount Nittany Health advises all people to take the following precautions:

– Keep your distance from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often

– Keep two weeks’ worth of prescription and over-the-counter medicines and other medical supplies, groceries and household goods on hand

– Avoid crowds

– Avoid cruise and non-essential air travel

– Stay home as much as possible to reduce your risk of being exposed

Coronavirus symptoms are often like the common cold and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear between two and 14 days after exposure.

According to Mount Nittany Health, individuals who believe they should contact their doctor to be assessed over the phone. Doctors will inform patients if they should go to the hospital for testing, and those who do are instructed to wear a protective mask.

Mount Nittany Health has temporary visitation restrictions in place at all of its locations.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.