Six states were removed from New York’s travel advisory list Tuesday, requiring out-of-state visitors from areas with high coronavirus infections to self-isolate for two weeks.
Visitors from California, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada and Ohio no longer have to self-quarantine when arriving in New York, bringing the list total to 28 states, which has fluctuated between 20 and 34 states throughout the summer.
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, must quarantine for 14 days when flying or driving into New York. Officials update the list every Tuesday.
“When other states and territories make progress fighting COVID-19, that’s good for New York, and while I am glad to see areas removed from the travel advisory list, it still remains far too long,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday. “Make no mistake: We must continue to be New York Tough and stay smart.”
The governor’s tri-state June 25 executive order includes Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia, and territories Guam and Puerto Rico.
Out-of-state travelers remain the greatest threat to New York’s low coronavirus infections and transmission numbers, Cuomo has said, as the European strain of COVID-19 infected the Eastern Seaboard after landing in New York and New Jersey airports in February and March. The state’s COVID-19 transmission rate is 1.07, meaning every New Yorker with the coronavirus will infect 1.07 other people. The virus stops spreading with transmission rates under 1, or spreads quickly when one person infects more than one other person.
The state’s rate of new coronavirus infections remained under 1% for 38 consecutive days. The streak ended Tuesday with 766 new COVID-19 infections, or 1% positive of 73,678 coronavirus tests conducted Monday.
Officials closely monitor the state’s coronavirus numbers and infections daily, watching for spikes or prolonged, elevated figures as nonessential businesses continue to reopen. Cuomo and his top aides are concerned about a virus resurgence after spikes when college students returned to their campuses over the last month, and students in kindergarten through 12th grade continue to resume in-person learning.
The aim is to remain under 1% positive, Cuomo said Tuesday — a level that must be maintained before reopening additional businesses.
Movie theaters remain closed, social gatherings remain legally capped at 50 people and upstate restaurants and businesses limited to 50% capacity in New York.
“Open as many things as you can to stay at 1% and that’s what I’m doing,” Gov. Cuomo said on Long Island News Radio on Tuesday. “We are at 1% every day. You get on the scale and you’re supposed to be under 200 pounds. We’re at 199.8. We don’t have a lot of flexibility here. Some parts of the state are over 1 (percent).”
The governor anticipates the state’s low coronavirus infection rate to increase, he said, as schools reopen and influenza season begins.
“We’re right there, so I have my foot as far down on the gas pedal as I can push it without going over the speed limit,” Gov. Cuomo said.
The governor on Tuesday also announced he would not ban trick-or-treaters from going door to door this Halloween.
“I would not ban trick-or-treaters going door to door — I don’t think that’s appropriate,” he said. “You have neighbors. If you want to go knock on your neighbor’s door, God bless you and I’m not going to tell you not to. If you want to go for a walk with your child through the neighborhood, I’m not gonna tell you (that) you can’t take your child to the neighborhood, I’m not going to do that.
“I’ll give you my advice and guidance and then you will make a decision what you do that night,” he added.
Eleven New Yorkers died from the virus Tuesday, up from four on Monday.