NEW YORK — Delaware, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia have been added to New York’s COVID-19 travel quarantine list, while Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been removed.
Anyone who has spent more than a short period of time in the 35 states and one territory on this list is required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New York — whether they are New York residents returning home or nonresidents arriving for a visit.
The list is based on the COVID infection rate within a given state or territory. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the virus being imported from the many states with much higher COVID activity than New York is one of the bigger threats to New York’s continued progress beating back the pandemic.
But there are other challenges, too. With Labor Day in the rear view mirror, Cuomo said New York is entering a different phase of the pandemic, with different complicating factors.
With summer vacation over, school starting, people working in offices again and the infection rate at a lull, New York is a busier place.
“You see traffic starting to increase,” Cuomo said.
Meanwhile, the flu season is approaching, grade schools are about to go back into session and colleges are already back in session, some of them already reporting infection clusters.
“Colleges are a problem and will continue to be a problem,” Cuomo said, explaining that New York colleges draw students from all over the country and many students typically want to hang out together, not always in a safe manner.
Nationwide, 108 colleges have reported 100 or more infections in just a few weeks, the governor said, including Colgate, Cornell, Hofstra, the University at Buffalo and the SUNY campuses in Fredonia, Oneonta and Oswego.
Cuomo previously announced that any college with more than 100 positive tests or more than 5 percent of the faculty and students testing positive would have to shift to remote learning. He said Tuesday the details of this requirement have been formalized and are now being issued by the state Department of Health. He said the shutdown would be enforced unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Regardless of the problems, New York continues to do well in fighting the virus, Cuomo said — the positive test rate has been lower than 1 percent for 32 straight days. COVID-related deaths have long been in the single digits in New York, with just five reported on Monday, one of them a Schenectady County resident in her 60s.
Also Tuesday, Cuomo kicked his rhetoric against President Trump up a notch, saying: “Trump is actively trying to kill New York City.”
He recalled the famous Daily News headline during President Ford’s administration — “Ford to City: Drop Dead. Rather than passively hoping the city would drop dead, Trump is actively working to kill it, he said, with funding cuts, economic policy and indifference.
“Donald Trump caused the COVID outbreak in New York … Donald Trump and his incompetent CDC and his incompetent NIH and his incompetent Department of Homeland Security.”
The current state quarantine list (34 states, 1 territory):
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia