By Paul Hughes, Republican-American
HARTFORD — The number of states subject to the tri-state coronavirus travel advisory for Connecticut, New York and New Jersey has doubled to 16, state officials announced Tuesday.
The three states updated the list of affected states for the first time since Gov. Ned Lamont, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy jointly announced the regional policy last week. No states on the initial list were dropped.
Any travelers from states that meet either of two measures of coronavirus infection rates are being told they have to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in Connecticut, New York or New Jersey. State officials expect to update the watch list weekly.
The eight states added Tuesday are California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee.
The initial eight states remaining on the list are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Texas.
The additions to the watch list follow a resurgence of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease across the South and West.
In California, there was a more than 15% increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the tri-state travel advisory took effect, and an almost 25% increase in hospitalizations of patients with confirmed infections, according to state figures.
THE ADVISORY APPLIES to any state that has a new daily positive test rate for COVID-19 higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or a state with a 10%, or higher, positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.
In addition to out-of-state visitors, the advisory covers Connecticut residents who are returning from a listed state.
There are no exceptions at this time, but Lamont indicated Monday it remains a topic of discussion. He favors adding an exemption for visitors who can document they have tested negative within three days of arrival.
In Connecticut, compliance is voluntary. The state’s advisory strongly urges visitors to Connecticut from listed states to self-quarantine.
In contrast, Lamont highlighted daily statistics Tuesday that showed Connecticut had achieved an all-time low in the rate of positive tests reported and an all-time high in tests reported.
The 152 positive tests out of the 21,416 new test results reported since Monday represents a positivity rate of 0.07%. Through Tuesday, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore calculated the state has a positivity rate of 1.2% based on a rolling seven-day average.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions the number of positive tests in a state is not equal to the number of cases, as one person may be tested more than once.
There have been 464,414 tests reported in Connecticut.
In addition, public health officials advise the daily statistics are preliminary, and data for previous dates are updated as new reports are received and data errors are corrected.
The report Tuesday said 98 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, down one from Monday. Two more fatalities brought the death toll to 4,322.
Also, the state Department of Public Health advises day-to-day changes in state statistics reflect newly-reported cases, deaths and tests that occurred over the last several days to a week.
THE NAUGATUCK VALLEY HEALTH DISTRICT reported Tuesday there have been 379 confirmed cases in Naugatuck and 52 in Beacon Falls. There have been 36 confirmed deaths associated with coronavirus and three probable deaths in Naugatuck, according to the health district, and none in Beacon Falls.
As of Tuesday, the Chesprocott Health District reported there have been 70 cases in Prospect and no coronavirus-related deaths in town.
THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION recently completed mass testing of the prison population. Nursing homes, residential care homes and assisted-living facilities also started mandated weekly testing of staff in the past two weeks.
The state tested 9,504 inmates across 14 prisons and jails from May 13 to June 25, and 832 tests came back positive, and only two inmates showed symptoms of the virus during a required 14-day isolation and monitoring period. There were 510 inmates who had previously contracted the virus before the start of the mass testing.
The Lamont administration is working on getting a count of air travelers arriving at Bradley International Airport from listed states. Figures are expected to be announced next week.
The travel advisory does not apply to passengers flying to Connecticut on connecting flights that stop in high infection states before arriving here.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday travelers from Connecticut and six other Northeastern states will be exempted from the state’s 14-day, self-quarantine guidance for out-of-state visitors effective July 1.
Baker said he was relaxing the travel restrictions because of the progress those states have made in controlling the spread of COVID-19. In addition to Connecticut, the exempted states are Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire in New England, plus New York and New Jersey.
“These surrounding states, like Massachusetts, are seeing a significant decline in cases and new hospitalizations,” Baker said.
Elio Gugliotti contributed to this article.