California added to New York travel quarantine list, but Massachusetts is spared

ALBANY, N.Y. – California was the lone state added to New York’s quarantine list Tuesday, while Massachusetts was spared even though it had enough COVID-19 cases to warrant inclusion, reports the New York State Team, which is a part of the USA TODAY Network.

Travelers coming from 41 states and territories are now subject to a 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival to New York, including the three most-populous states in the country — California, Florida and Texas. The full list of states is below.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the latest list of quarantine-eligible states Tuesday, as the state does each week.

California had been removed from the list in mid-September after qualifying for several weeks.

But it was re-added Tuesday after an increase in cases and a backlog of cases reported in Los Angeles County helped push the state over the quarantine threshold, which is 10 average daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the prior seven days.

Database:See how close your state is to being removed from NY’s quarantine list

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut first partnered on a joint travel advisory in late June as COVID-19 cases cooled in the Northeast and were on the rise throughout the country.

That partnership has since become complicated: New Jersey and Connecticut both exceeded 10 average daily positive coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents last week. 

That led the three states to agree to exempt neighboring states from their individual quarantine lists as of last week, though Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont all encouraged residents to avoid any nonessential travel between the states.

That caused the three states’ individual quarantine lists to differ slightly for the first time. 

This past week, four of New York’s direct neighbors — New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts — all had enough recent COVID-19 cases to make the list. All have been exempted from New York’s list, according to Cuomo.

New Jersey, on the other hand, has Massachusetts on its quarantine list but exempts neighboring Delaware, which is on New York’s list. 

“Now, 45 states and territories meet the requirements for our travel advisory,” Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday. “We cannot let our guard down and risk going backwards in New York. It’s going to take the work of all of us to remain vigilant.”

As the week ending Monday, New York had about 8 average daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, one of the lowest infection rates in the nation.

An arriving passenger wearing a face shield, left, collects her luggage in the baggage claim area of LaGuardia Airport's Terminal B, Thursday, June 25, 2020, in New York. New York, Connecticut and New Jersey are asking visitors from states with high coronavirus infection rates to quarantine for 14 days.

But as COVID-19 cases increase across the country, the number has also risen in New York in recent weeks after remaining steady at about 3 cases per 100,000 in July and August. 

Cuomo had suggested in recent days that he is open to revising the quarantine requirement, which applies to any traveler who recently visited any of the states on the list, including New York residents who traveled out of state.

The Democratic governor last week said he may consider implementing a rapid testing requirement instead of a full quarantine.

“We’re working with global experts to see if there’s a different methodology to quarantine,” he said Oct. 21. “How do you use technology? How do you use testing? Because our current method is you come here and you have to stay for 14 days before you leave. The enforcement is highly problematic.”

On Tuesday, however, Cuomo announced no such change, at least not yet.

In New York, enforcement of the quarantine order is almost entirely at airports, where travelers arriving from quarantine-eligible states are required to fill out a contact-tracing form or face the threat of a $2,000 fine.

Cuomo said the main reason he agreed to exempt neighboring states is because enforcing the order with drivers crossing state lines would be “practically impossible.”

Along with 10 average daily cases per 100,000 residents, a state can also make the quarantine list by having 10% of COVID-19 tests come back positive over the prior week. 

Here’s the full list of states and territories subject to New York’s quarantine order as of Oct. 27:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Delaware
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. Guam
  11. Idaho
  12. Illinois
  13. Indiana
  14. Iowa
  15. Kansas
  16. Kentucky
  17. Louisiana
  18. Maryland
  19. Michigan
  20. Minnesota
  21. Mississippi
  22. Missouri
  23. Montana
  24. Nebraska
  25. New Mexico
  26. Nevada
  27. North Carolina
  28. North Dakota
  29. Ohio
  30. Oklahoma
  31. Puerto Rico
  32. Rhode Island
  33. South Carolina
  34. South Dakota
  35. Tennessee
  36. Texas
  37. Utah
  38. Virginia
  39. West Virginia
  40. Wisconsin
  41. Wyoming

Jon Campbell is a New York state government reporter for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at JCAMPBELL1@Gannett.com or on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.

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