HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut has expanded the list of states with high COVID-19 infection rates that are covered under the regional travel advisory to 34 this week, along with Puerto Rico.
Governors from the tri-state area have announced a plan to try and keep the coronavirus out of their states. Trying to keep the positive cases down, Governor Ned Lamont joined the governors of New York and New Jersey announcing a “strict” COVID-19 travel advisory.
People traveling to Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey from the affected states have to self-quarantine for fourteen days. This only applies to travelers who have been in the affected state for 24 hours or more.
Governor Lamont announced Tuesday, August 4, that 34 states and Puerto Rico that meet that criteria.
Here is the list:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
Rhode Island is the latest to fall under a travel advisory. Delaware and Washington D.C. have now been removed from the list. But more than half of the states are now on the list of travelers that must self isolate for fourteen days when coming here.
Now you could face a potential $1,000 fine if you fail to let the state know where you arrived from.
“We are giving a right or an option of having a $1,000 fine for people who refuse to fill out the form or don’t obey the protocols,” Lamont said. “Enforcement of that will evolve over time, but we want to send a message loud and clear.”
People coming from these states with high infection rates are being asked to quarantine for fourteen days when entering Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.
“You’ve got states with a positivity rate of 10, 15%,” Lamont said before officially announcing the plan. “We are talking about a regional quarantine. If these folks want to come to the New York metropolitan area, the Boston metropolitan area, perhaps they should show that they’ve been tested in the very recent past or they should quarantine.”
Governor Lamont said in a separate news conference that the quarantine rule would also be in place for Connecticut residents who travel to high-infection states and return home.
“If you come back from Miami Beach, you quarantine just like everyone else,” the governor said.
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The self-quarantine rule applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.
It will apply to all modes of transportation, but will have a special focus on those who fly in from “hot zones.” The tri-states will have messaging at airports, on highways, and on websites and social media, as well as ask hotels to communicate the quarantine to their guests. In Connecticut, everyone will be on the honor system.
In New York, though, that’s not the case. Folks from the many hot spots in the country can face $1,000 fines if they don’t quarantine.
Lamont said this “urgent guidance” is aimed at stopping a spike in coronavirus. When News 8 asked the governor if the fine will be considered for CT, he said, “We will if we have to, but I don’t think so at this point. I like the fact that people are self-quarantining by perhaps not coming. That was number one. Number two, we’ve certainly been clear and I think people have gotten the message what the rules are. Not just in advertising, but at Newark and Laguardia people have to sign what their plans are for quarantining. So, so far so good I think.”
“At this time, [the plan] relies on individual responsibility, people doing the right thing,” said Chief Operating Officer, Josh Geballe. “There are no plans for the National Guard to step in. If need be we will re-look at enforcement.”
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Those coming from high-risk areas can show that they’ve been tested recently to avoid the quarantine.
At Bradley Airport in Hartford, when passengers arrive from hot spots like Florida and Texas, they have two options: they can be tested for COVID-19 72 hours before they hop on the plane so they have negative results on hand, or they can self-quarantine for 14 days when they reach their destination.
Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey will continually update and publish on their respective websites a list of states to which the new advisory applies. This information will be updated regularly. To visit Connecticut’s site, click here.
Dr. Diedre Gifford, with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, said it’s all about avoiding a second wave.
“The measures we have in place and the strong advisory will help lower the odds of a second wave hitting Connecticut,” Gifford explained.
Now, some state leaders are pushing for COVID-19 testing at airports like Bradley.
Some travelers at the airport said they support the idea.
“I think it’s really important when you come from high-risk areas because people traveling are going to meet and be with people and that’s how the virus is spread,” said Whitley Scharffs, who flew in from North Carolina.
News 8 asked the governor about possibly screening or even testing passengers as they arrive at CT airports and they said it was something they were looking into. This week, his team stressed there have enough testing sites in the state. The spokesperson for the Airport Authority also echoed this adding it takes time to get test results, but added, “they’re still researching the feasibility of a site at Bradley Airport in the future.”