ALBANY — The number of states whose residents are required to quarantine upon entering New York has doubled as COVID-19 cases continue to rise nationally.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the changes Tuesday in an updated executive order. The states affected now include California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee.
They were added to a list which already included Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, the Carolinas, Utah and Texas. The tri-state order announced last week requires a 14-day self-quarantine for travelers who fly or arrive in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut from states with more than a 10% positive coronavirus test rate, or a positive test rating higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day average.
“We’re trying to keep the infection out of New York,” Cuomo said during an interview on NY1 on Tuesday. “We now have 16 states that meet the formula for quarantine. That’s a very significant problem.”
Cuomo repeated how the virus landed in New York and New Jersey airports with more than 3 million European travelers from January to mid-March.
“The virus is raging all across the nation and that’s because we have a federal government that just missed this,” hee said. “They denied it in the first place, let’s be honest. They refused to solve it because they don’t admit it.”
The required self-isolation order is aimed to curb the spread of COVID-19 as cases have spiked in 32 states and Puerto Rico, but continue to decline in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The quarantine policy is uniform across the three states, but each state is responsible for enforcing the policy.
Last week, Cuomo said people who violate the advisory will be subject to a judicial order and mandatory quarantine where a state official checks a residence or dwelling once per day to ensure a person has remained separated from the public.
The governor’s Press Office has not responded to multiple requests for comment about which state officials will be performing the inspections, how many inspectors will work in each region or county or the methods they will check a traveler in self-quarantining.
State Health Department officials are stationed at tables at a checkpoint inside Albany International Airport where they require passengers arriving from the 16 states on the list to fill out a form, said Doug Myers, Albany International Airport director of public affairs.
The airport is not involved with enforcing the governor’s order, Myers said.
“This is not the airport’s responsibility — we’re not an enforcement arm,” he said. “The airport is cooperating with the health department. They assist passengers filling out forms.”
Cuomo said Thursday state inspectors may randomly check on travelers who are supposed to be quarantining. Customs or border patrol officials at state airport are federal employees, and would require federal orders or guidance to assist in enforcing the state’s travel advisory. Cuomo and his aides remain in conversation with federal authorities about ways they are willing to help monitor travelers and implement the tri-state order.
The state reported 13 New Yorkers died from the virus Monday — up from seven Sunday. The state’s total virus hospitalizations increased for the first time in weeks, bringing Tuesday’s total to 891 patients, or up 38, according to the governor’s office.
The state reported 524 new COVID-19 cases, or about 1%, of the 52,025 tests conducted Monday. Each of the state’s 10 regions reported a positive COVID-19 testing rate of 1.4% or lower.