Cannabis Vaping Summit

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (from left), Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, far right, co-host a regional summit Oct. 17, 2019, on public health issues around cannabis and vaping.

(The Center Square) – Effective midnight Wednesday, the states of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut will implement a 14-day quarantine order for visitors from COVID-19 hot spot states.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement, joined virtually by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. The three governors said their states have worked hard at containing the virus and do not want to see cases spike again in the country’s most densely populated region.

“Because what happens in New York happens in New Jersey, happens in Connecticut,” Cuomo said. “I think it's right. I think it's smart, and I'm glad that we're doing it together.”

The order currently covers residents and people traveling from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington state. However, the list will be fluid based on a rolling seven-day average. States that exceed an infection rate of 10 per 100,000 or a 10 percent positivity rate will find themselves added to it.

Cuomo said the list will be updated daily and would also include those from the tri-state region returning from those states.

“We have taken our people, the three of us, these three states through hell and back, and the last thing we need to do right now is to subject our folks to another round,” Murphy said. “This virus is risky enough on its own in terms of the potential to flare back up.”

Lamont said the virus isn’t just spiking in the nine states named, it’s spreading across communities there.

“If it was limited to the nursing homes or the prisons or something containable, perhaps we would not be as concerned, but right now we're seeing places within some of these states where you have a positivity rate of 20, 30, 40 percent,” Lamont said. “In many cases (it’s) younger people, folks who travel 18 to 35, who are maybe not at risk themselves but are highly infectious.”

Each state will be responsible for enforcing the quarantine. Those found violating the order in New York may find themselves facing a court-ordered quarantine and possible fines. Fines will escalate for each violation, starting at $2,000 for a first offense and $5,000 for a second. Violators may also have to pay for the costs of court-ordered quarantines, and fines could reach up to $10,000 if they are found to have caused harm.

The New York governor had previously said he was considering such a step just last week. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a similar order in March for travelers from the three northeastern states as coronavirus cases escalated there.

That order remains in effect.

Cuomo announced New York conducted 58,000 tests on Tuesday, with just 1.1 percent of those returning positive. Just 1,071 people remain hospitalized with the virus.