New Jersey is lowering theCOVID-19 quarantine period that out-of-state travelers should observe – from 14 to 10 days – falling in line with recommendations put out last week by federal health officials.
Under the state Health Department’s guidelines, posted on Dec. 5, travelers should self-isolate for 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19, or if testing is not available. They should self-quarantine for seven days after travel, if they test negative.
Tests should be done between one to three days before the trip, and between three to five days after the trip, falling in line with what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention introduced last week.
The state scrapped its previous COVID-19 travel advisories as the nation found itself in the midst of a second wave, rendering those guidelines obsolete.
With COVID-19 cases surging across the country, travelers coming in from any of the non-neighboring states are urged to follow these new travel restrictions- neighboring states include Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania.
Gov. Phil Murphy and other state and federal health officials have discouraged any non-essential travel, especially the family gatherings typical of the holiday season, as COVID-19 daily cases surge to all-time record highs in the past week. Over 6,000 new cases were recorded for the first time ever, over the weekend.
Although those numbers were to be expected because testing capacity is greater than what existed during the first wave, state health officials have warned that many other metrics meant to gauge whether the pandemic is worsening are also moving in a worrying direction.
Hospitalizations, ventilator-usage, critical care patients and daily fatalities are all at their highest in months, as is the positivity rate among tests.
Essential travel over state lines is largely exempt, and that includes for going to work, medical reasons, military purposes or court orders such as child custody, according to the state health department.
Quarantine is voluntary but “compliance is expected,” according to the state Department in Health.
Murphy on Monday warned that these next few days will be “quite telling” on whether the state will experience a COVID-19 surge because of Thanksgiving travel.
“Anecdotally, people did the right thing at Thanksgiving,” Murphy said in an interview with 1010 WINS Dec. 7. “But we’re going to see whether or not the anecdotal evidence translates into the empirical evidence over the next number of days.”