3 US states to quarantine visitors from COVID-19 hotspots

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will implement a mandatory quarantine on visitors coming from US states currently with significant community spread of COVID-19.

“We’ve worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down and we don’t want to see it go up again because people are travelling into the state and bringing it with them,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a joint conference with his two other counterparts on Wednesday.

This quarantine applies to any person coming from a state with a positive COVID-19 test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average, said Cuomo.

As of Wednesday, the states that were above the rate include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas, according to Cuomo.

The travel advisory will be effective midnight Wednesday, and the three states will keep updates on which state’s rates have surpassed the parameters.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said at the briefing through a video link that the quarantine is “the common-sense thing to do and the responsible thing to do”.

“No region in the country has paid a bigger price with a loss of brothers and sisters (as we did), said Murphy. “And the last thing we need to do now is to subject our folks to another round.”

By Wednesday afternoon, the three states have reported a total of more than 604,000 cases and over 48,000 deaths, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The state will do publicity on social media and reach out to travel agencies to inform any potential visitor to the region with the travel advisory, said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont through a video link.

“This step to inform travelers from states with hot spots to self-isolate is meant to protect our residents and maintain our incredible public health progress,” he said.

As many regions of the country are experiencing a significant spike in COVID-19 infections, the three northeastern states, previously the hardest-hit nationwide, are now leading the country in terms of response to the pandemic with low positivity rates, increased testing capacity and contact tracing.

The positive test rates of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are 1.0 per cent, 1.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively, all deemed low-risk states, according to Covid Act Now, a US website tracking coronavirus data and risk level across the country.