With coronavirus cases surging throughout the United States, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that most travelers must now get Covid-19 tests before and after arrival in the state.
The new policy replaces a previous advisory list of states with rising case counts from which travelers were required to quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in New York, the governor told reporters.
“Thanksgiving is going to be complicated,” said Cuomo, adding that college students will be returning home and families getting together.
“People think they are safe if they are with people they know. Just because they’re your family doesn’t mean they’re safe from Covid.”
Most travelers to New York State will be required to obtain a negative Covid-19 test within three days of arriving in the state, Cuomo said.
The policy, which goes into effect Wednesday, does not apply to travel between New York and the neighboring states of Connecticut, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania.
Once in New York, travelers will be required to quarantine for three days before getting another test. If the second test is negative, the traveler will no longer be required to quarantine.
“If the test says you’re positive, then you remain in quarantine,” Cuomo said. “If you choose not to get tested, then you remain in quarantine for the 14-day period.”
New York resident traveling outside the state for more than 24 hours must follow the same procedure.
A New York resident leaving the state for less than 24 hours will only be required to take the second test.
State officials said the new requirement will be enforced in the same way as the previous 14-day quarantine policy, with travelers being asked to fill out questionnaires. The policy leans on individual compliance.
New York’s overall coronavirus positivity rate Saturday was 1.49%, down from 1.53% the previous day.
New York maintained a seven-day moving average of new cases below 1,000 for 114 straight days — from early June to the end of September, according to data released by Johns Hopkins University. On October 1, the state average of new cases tipped above 1,000 and has been there every day since.
“As with everything, context is key: Cases are surging around the country and around the globe,” Cuomo said in a statement. “In a sea of division and a sea of COVID chaos, our ship of state is sailing well. The world, however, is in trouble. So New Yorkers should be very proud of where we are, but we also need to stay vigilant.”
In late June, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut issued a travel advisory requiring people arriving from states with high coronavirus rates to quarantine for 14 days.
Each state was responsible for its own enforcement of the quarantine.
In New York, Cuomo said at time, those violating the quarantine could be subject to a judicial order and mandatory quarantine, and fines are $2,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second violation, and $10,000 for those who cause harm.
The policy change in New York comes as the US reported 99,321 new Covid-19 cases on Friday — the highest single day number of cases recorded for any country. The top five records in daily cases all occurred within eight days, and an expert warned the upward trend will push hospitals past capacity.