New Jersey, New York and Connecticut now have a list of 35 and states and territories from which travelers need to self-quarantine for 14 days, after five more states were added on Tuesday morning.
Under the announcement, no states were removed from the growing list of nationwide COVID-19 hotspots, and Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island and Wyoming were added.
The self-quarantine recommendation from the three states, among the hardest hit by the pandemic in March and April, applies to any state with a positive test rate of 10 per 100,000 residents or a positivity rate higher than 10 percent, both over a seven-day rolling average.
New Jersey’s neighbor to the south Delaware still remains on the list, which has drawn the ire of its governor.
“To maintain our steady progress on the road back, we must continue to be vigilant and practice personal responsibility to reduce the potential for outbreaks,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a Tuesday statement. “It remains critically important for anyone arriving in New Jersey from these 35 states and territories to get tested for COVID-19 and self-quarantine for 14 days.”
The other 30 states and territories are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North and South Carolina, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
The positivity rate among COVID-19 tests has oscillated between 1.5 and 2 percent, both acceptable numbers according to the governor. They were, from Murphy’s point of view, enough to justify recently scaling back restrictions on indoor dining, theaters and gyms.
Meanwhile, the rate of transmission, or how quickly the virus spreads, has hovered just above 1 for the past several weeks, meaning that for every person who gets COVID-19, they spread it to at least one other individual.
Gyms were allowed to operate at reduced capacity at the start of the month. Indoor dining, indoor movie theaters and other performance venues followed suit just before Labor Day weekend, also with face covering, sanitization and limited capacity protocols.
Murphy said on Monday that there was “no evidence” that recent COVID-19 outbreaks, especially in the shore counties of Ocean and Monmouth, could be traced back to any of these establishments. Rather, they were the result of large social gatherings and parties attended by teenagers and young adults, according to state health officials.
“Gyms, restaurants, overwhelmingly, are doing the right thing,” the governor said on Monday.
Still, public health officials have been wary of a widely-expected second wave of the virus, which is expected to slam the state’s health system as colder weather approaches, keeping more people indoors than outdoors, and which would likely coincide with the flu season.