State College leaders worry about jeopardy of community with recent uptick in COVID-19 cases

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CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – As the state prepares to relax guidelines, local leaders in State College are concerned for their community.

According to Mayor Ron Filippelli, Centre County is witnessing an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in their schools and hospitals.

Filippelli says this is not solely on students, community members, or even visitors. Instead he says it’s on everyone.

“We’re seeing a relaxation across the board unfortunately and we understand that. Everyone has cabin fever,” said Filippelli.

Still, he reminds the community that the pandemic is not over.

Eric J. Barron, the President of Penn State says he’s not surprised by the rise in cases.

“Walking or driving around campus or in town lately, I see increasing number of students, parents, visitors gathered in groups, waiting in lines and in close contact with others without masks,” said Barron.

But the Chief Clinical Officer at Mt. Nittany Health says now is not the time to let any guards down.

“We are seeing our highest number of COVID-19 patients in 6 weeks. We do not want to get to the point again where we need to limit our services because of the number of hospitalized COVID patients,” said Dr. Christopher Hester.

Which is why all local leaders are urging the community to do their part.

“We need everyone to continue to mask, avoid large gatherings, wash our hands and to get vaccinated as soon as we are able,” said Filippelli.

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