The Murphy administration added three more states with COVID-19 hotspots, from which travelers coming into New Jersey should self-quarantine, as the pandemic surges across the country.
With the addition of Kansas, Oklahoma and neighboring Delaware, there is now a total of 19 states where travelers coming into New Jersey, New York and Connecticut should stay at home for 14 days.
The others are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
Combined, those states make up nearly 165 million people, or just over half the population of the United States.
The three states levied the advisory against states with “high infection rates” – those with 10 cases per 100,000 people, or “10 percent of the total population” – that are testing positive for a seven-day basis.
A recent surge in cases in North Jersey was tied to a wedding at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, Gov. Phil Murphy said.
On July 4, the state’s COVID-19 transmission rate crept up to 1.04, meaning that for every person who got it, the virus was spread to one other person.
In essence, the virus is spreading. When the stay-at-home order was enacted on March 21, the transmission rate was roughly 5.3, meaning that for every person who got COVID-19, they spread it to over five people.
The rate stayed below 1 for 10 weeks and hovered at 0.70 when outdoor dining was first allowed to resume on June 15.
Murphy’s controversial decision to pull the plug on allowing indoor dining to resume on July 2 just two days before it was scheduled to restart, was in part due to a rise in cases in parts of the country where upticks in cases were recorded as indoor bars and dining were allowed to resume.
And for the time being, Murphy said he is holding off on lifting any more restrictions on businesses, which had been done in waves leading up to July 4.
“One thing that this leads to me is that we’re not going to be jumping the gun on a whole lot more opening up steps right now,” the governor said Monday at a COVID-19 press briefing at the Trenton War Memorial.
Those were previously done daily, but have been scaled back to Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“We’re at where we’re at now — and my guess is that we’re going to be there for a bit.”
And the governor has indicated his administration is looking at mandating masks or face coverings whenever someone is in public. Currently, face coverings need to be worn when indoors and at an array of outdoor businesses.
They are strongly advised in public spaces outdoors, especially when a six-foot distance cannot be maintained between people.
“We were the first state in America to mandate masking indoors, and I’m glad we did,” the governor said on Monday. “And we’re constantly assessing and reassessing the variety of the advisories and recommendations that we have out there.
“We’re looking at outside masking as we speak,” he added, saying during a weekend appearance with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that there should be a nationwide mandate on face coverings being worn in public.