At least five states have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases that qualify them for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut’s quarantine advisory – including New Jersey and Connecticut, reports the Democrat Chronicle, a USA TODAY Network publication.
Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey – all direct neighbors of New York – were among at least 43 states and territories that averaged at least 10 daily coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over the past week, the threshold for the tri-state travel advisory requiring incoming travelers to quarantine.
When New York updates its list of affected states Tuesday, it will mark the first time any of its neighboring states qualified, raising questions about whether people who frequently cross the state border for work will be granted an exemption.
Further complicating matters is that New York has worked in partnership with New Jersey and Connecticut on the travel advisory, which the three states first issued jointly in late June.
On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested the state may not be able to do much to stop travel between the neighboring states.
New York’s enforcement of the measure has been almost exclusively at airports, where most out-of-state travelers are required to fill out a contact tracing form upon arrival under threat of a $2,000 fine.
“If you were to limit access to New Jersey or Connecticut, I don’t know to what extent it would even be possible to do border patrol because you don’t have (air travel) there and it would also be seriously disruptive to the economy,” Cuomo said during a media conference call.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut first issued their joint travel advisory in late June. The advisory directs travelers who recently spent time in areas with moderate-to-high levels of COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to one of the three states.
In New York, the order applies to state residents who recently traveled to another state on the quarantine list.
New York updates its travel advisory data weekly and updates the quarantine list on behalf of the three states each Tuesday. In recent weeks, the state has updated the list in the late afternoon.
A state qualifies for the quarantine list if it averaged at least 10 daily coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over the previous week, or if at least 10% of COVID-19 tests came back positive over the same time period.
As of Oct.12, 38 states and territories qualified for the quarantine list, including large states like Florida and Texas.
Since then, at least five additional states – Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Arizona and New Jersey – all exceeded the threshold, according to the USA TODAY Network.
Another of New York’s neighbors, Massachusetts, was right at 10 cases per 100,000 residents as of Monday, though whether it’s included on the list will depend on how New York rounds in its calculation.
New York averaged 7.3 daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past week, the fifth-lowest number in the country.
Under New York’s current rules, travelers who pass through a state on the travel advisory list for less than 24 hours are exempt from the quarantine requirement, which accounts for flyovers and stops at rest areas when traveling on the Thruway.
The state also has an exemption for essential workers who travel to New York for work. Nonessential workers, meanwhile, have not been exempted, raising the question of what may happen to people who live in New York and work in a neighboring state or vice versa.
Cuomo said the issue is “complicated” and said New York is working with its neighboring states.
“We don’t have any final conclusion yet,” he said. “But for all practical matters, you can’t do border control with New Jersey and Connecticut.”
On Monday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he had not yet spoken directly to Cuomo about how New York plans to handle the situation.
“My advice is to not travel, frankly,” Murphy said.
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Contributing: The Associated Press
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