COVID-19

5 More States Added to Tri-State Quarantine List as U.S. COVID-19 Cases Near 7 Million

To date, nearly 7 million U.S. COVID-19 cases have been confirmed and at least 200,000 people have died from the virus, according to NBC News

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What to Know

  • Currently, travelers from 35 "hotspot" states and territories must quarantine for 14 days after arriving in New Jersey, New York or Connecticut
  • In New York, failure to comply can result in significant fines; Mayor Bill de Blasio says up to 20% of the city's cases stem from out of state travel
  • Daily infection rates in New York remain at or below 1 percent, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, and there was just one new COVID-19 death -- the lowest daily toll since the state's first COVID death was reported in March

It has been nearly three months since tri-state governors Andrew Cuomo, Phil Murphy and Ned Lamont implemented a travel restriction in an effort to protect their states' hard-earned progress against COVID-19 as cases surged elsewhere across the country. Thirty-five U.S. "hotspots" are on the list as of Tuesday, with Cuomo adding Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.

No states were removed.

The rolling quarantine list, which applies to U.S. states and jurisdictions with a seven-day COVID positivity rate of 10 percent or higher, requires travelers from those areas to self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving in the tri-state area. In New York, thousands of dollars in fines may accompany noncompliance with the order.

"The virus' spread across the country -- new cases have increased more than 15 percent in the last 10 days -- makes it all the more urgent that we stay vigilant here at home," Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday. "That's why New Yorkers need to continue wearing masks, socially distancing and washing their hands in conjunction with the careful enforcement of local governments. We can defeat this virus by staying New York Tough, but we have a long way to go."

Right now, the restrictions apply to Arizona, Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Virginia, Wyoming and Wisconsin.

People traveling to Connecticut from designated hotspots now can get out of the quarantine if they provide a negative COVID-19 test result from within 72 hours before travel, which is not the case in New York and New Jersey. Regardless of a negative test, hotspot travelers must quarantine in those states for 14 days.

Daily Percentage of Positive Tests by New York Region

Gov. Andrew Cuomo breaks the state into 10 regions for testing purposes and tracks positivity rates to identify potential hotspots. Here's the latest tracking data by region. For the latest county-level results statewide, click here

Source: ny.gov

In New York City, the former epicenter of the national crisis, Mayor Bill de Blasio has implemented a number of measures to help enforce Cuomo's quarantine. In recent weeks, he has authorized sheriff deputies to stop buses from hotspots before they arrive at Port Authority to dole out travel contact forms. He has also started random vehicular checkpoints and ordered hotels to deny travelers room access if they refuse to fill out the form. The goal is to educate, not fine.

De Blasio has previously said up to 20 percent of the five boroughs' COVID cases have stemmed from out-of-state travel. He also reminds New York City residents that they, too, must quarantine for 14 days if they return to the city from a hotspot.

The return of in-person school, which resumed in the city Monday for pre-K and special ed students and will restart in a staggered rollout for all other children over the next week and a half, may compound issues from the travel quarantine. If you visit a family member in a hotspot, for example, the child can't go to school.

While more than a half-million students will be in-person in New York City public schools on a part-time basis by Oct. 1, the number of those opting for all-remote continues to rise. As of Monday's update, 46 percent of families opted for virtual.

New clusters are expected, especially with the return to in-person learning, as officials say and many college campuses across the country have harshly learned. The goal is to mitigate potential impacts and avoid exponential spread.

Some neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens -- namely Borough Park, Kew Gardens, Midwood, Far Rockaway, Flatbush and Williamsburg -- have experienced recent increases in cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. His administration is stepping up outreach and COVID testing in those areas.

The travel restrictions are designed to help keep New York's infection rate low, in tandem with basic COVID precautions like face-coverings and social distancing. The infection rate has been at or below 1 percent for months now, including in New York City. On Monday, the state reported just one new COVID-19 death for the second time, the lowest daily toll since the first death in March.

"We won't stop until that number is zero," Cuomo said at the time. "But when you look at what's going on around the country and what's going on around the world, it's a really extraordinary accomplishment that New Yorkers have achieved."

"You're only as good as your performance today," the governor added.

Nationally, that performance is slowly improving after a drastic increase in cases and deaths in certain states like Florida and California (California is no longer on the quarantine list). To date, nearly 7 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed and at least 200,000 people have died from the virus, according to NBC News.

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