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The Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard update released Tuesday showed Bradford County among those with the highest percent positivity of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania, according to state officials.

The percent positivity, which is drawn from Oct. 2 to Oct. 8, had Bradford County at 7.4%. Northumberland (8.6%) and Centre (7.6%) were the only counties with higher percent positivity.

Based on totals of new cases leading up to last Friday, Bradford County was listed with Centre, Lebanon, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties for substantial level of community transmission, which carries with it the recommendation from the state for full remote learning.

However, following a meeting with Bradford County’s superintendents Tuesday morning, Towanda Superintendent Dennis Peachey said, “PDE and DOH encouraged school districts to stay the course this week with their instructional models. Data will continue to be monitored this week. We will meet again next Monday to see where things stand at that point.”

As Athens Superintendent Craig Stage reported during Tuesday’s school board meeting, they were informed that the weekly level of transmission is currently at 151 new cases per 100,000 people for Bradford County, which puts it well above the state minimum of 100 people per 100,000 required for the substantial level.

Before Tuesday’s meeting, Stage notified the community of two additional confirmed COVID-19 cases in the district. One is a student at the high school while the other is a student at SRU Elementary.

“The students are doing fine and following all protocols,” Stage said. “The students were already isolated at home due to close contact with our first positive student COVID-19 case.”

The students had been in quarantine since Oct. 1, but had shown no signs or symptoms of infection at that time, he said. Because of the precautions that had already been taken, Stage added that there was no need to change instruction or for contact tracing.

While the Department of Health has pointed to congregation as a main culprit behind increased case counts across the state, Tuesday’s Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard update also highlighted that “a concerning number of recent cases have been linked to travel.”

Officials stressed that people quarantine for 14 days if returning from one of the states listed in the most updated travel recommendations, which include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of Pennsylvanians being united in taking actions to protect ourselves and others, such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing our hands and avoiding large gatherings,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “Together, Pennsylvanians can work to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Tuesday’s COVID-19 dashboard showed that Bradford County had gained 21 confirmed cases compared to Monday’s reporting. This included 12 new cases among nursing home or personal care home residents and four among staff at those facilities.

Staff Writer Samantha Latos contributed to this report.

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