Centre Co. residents concerned travelers to State College will spread Covid-19

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ)– Centre County is the first county in Central PA to receive a “Stay at Home” order from Governor Tom Wolf.

While Gov. Wolf’s message is clear that county residents should stay home to stop the spread of Covid-19, many are concerned that non-residents may be contributing to the local spread of the virus.

What many view as the problem: travelers coming to the county from metropolitan areas, and not self-quarantining.

While there is no official way to measure if Centre County is seeing an influx in non-residents, WTAJ looked to see how many people from outside of Pennsylvania may be in parts of State College.

(Disclaimer: this is an unscientific method of gathering information but could give insight into the number of “out-of-staters” in the area).

Monday, WTAJ drove around portions of Downtown State College for about 2 hours, as shown on the map below. (Parts of College Avenue, Beaver Avenue, Atherton Street, and Foster Avenue).

In total, WTAJ observed 242 out-of-state license plates. Of those 242 plates, more than half (131) were from New York and New Jersey.

Below is the break-down of the 242 out-of-state plates observed:

  • 72 New Jersey plates
  • 59 New York plates
  • 111 plates from other states (including New England and the Southeastern U.S.)

Note: It’s possible that some of these cars never left State College, and were sitting in Happy Valley while Penn State students went home.

However, there’s also concerns that some of these cars recently came to State College, some perhaps from locations with more cases of Covid-19.

“They don’t know what they’re carrying back….they don’t know what they’ve picked up there and then walk by people from other communities for 14 days before they show symptoms,” said Vincent Romanini, Owner of Wynwood House Personal Care Homes.

He added: “Everybody should stay where they are. You’re just putting too many people at risk by moving around.”

In addition to concerns over an influx car travelers, county residents are concerned about bus passengers.

Last week, buses stopped travel from New York City to Central PA, however Megabus still offers direct service to State College from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (Philadelphia County just eclipsed 1,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases Monday).

Greyhound and Fullington bus companies are still offering service to DuBois from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Washington D.C.

Gov. Wolf has not announced plans to stop these bus lines. They are considered “life-sustaining” as Gov. Wolf says some people depend on the bus lines for transportation to their homes.

There is no Federal travel ban currently in place, and no requirement for anyone traveling from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or any PA city to self-quarantine. The same is true for New Jersey, New York State, and Virginia.

Quick note on air travel: The University Park Airport’s website indicates that some flights are still arriving (or plan to arrive Monday evening) from the following destinations: Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

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