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All travelers to New York must test negative for COVID-19, Cuomo announces

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(NEW YORK) — New York state is moving away from a travel advisory that required a two-week quarantine for people coming from COVID-19 hotspots and instead will mandate that all travelers test negative for the virus before and after coming to the state, the governor announced Saturday.

“There will be no quarantine list, there will be no metrics,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters. “There will be one rule that applies across the country.”

That rule requires that those coming to New York must test negative for COVID-19 within three days before their arrival, and have proof of the test. Once in New York, they must quarantine for three days and take another test on the fourth day. If they test negative, they can end their quarantine.

Residents of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are exempt from this requirement, Cuomo said.

New York residents who travel to another state for 24 hours or fewer must take a COVID-19 test within four days of arrival, the governor said. Any longer and, like non-residents, they must take a test within three days of travel and test negative, quarantine for three days upon return and get tested on the fourth day. If they test negative, “you go about your business,” Cuomo said.

It is unclear when the new requirements go into effect.

Cuomo stressed the need for the new policy as Thanksgiving approaches.

“Just because they’re your family, doesn’t mean they’re safe from COVID,” he said. “And that’s where we’re seeing increases.”

The original travel advisory, which the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced in late June, required that people coming to the region from states with a positive case rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10% test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average, must quarantine for 14 days.

Nine states were on the travel advisory list at the time. On Tuesday, California was the latest state to be added to New York’s travel advisory, for a total of 41 states and territories. Neighboring states Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania had also met the criteria, but a quarantine was not required given the level of travel between the states. Instead, officials discouraged non-essential travel to those states.

Connecticut’s and New Jersey’s travel advisories are still in effect, according to their state websites. As of Tuesday, Connecticut had 42 states and territories on its list, while New Jersey had 41. Anyone traveling from those regions is asked to self-quarantine for two weeks.

The announcement comes as New York is targeting “micro-clusters” that have higher testing positivity rates. On Saturday, the positivity rate in these focus areas was 3.01%, while the statewide positivity rate excluding those areas was 1.3%. The statewide positivity rate is 1.49%.

New York has continued to see outbreaks linked to mass gatherings at houses of worship, weddings, funerals and other events, Cuomo said this week.

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