Travelers from a total of nineteen states -- an increase of three -- are now subject to a self-quarantine upon arriving in Connecticut, the state announced on its travel advisory website Tuesday.
The states involved are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
Sixteen states were under the advisory last week. Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma are new additions to the list as of Tuesday.
Travelers returning from those impacted states, including Connecticut residents returning home, will be subject to a 14-day self-quarantine. However, the state recently updated it's Frequently Asked Questions site and now says a recent negative COVID-19 test result can substitute for the quarantine, when a quarantine is not possible.
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"Quarantine is the best option to prevent spread of disease. However, if a 14-day self-quarantine is not possible, travelers from the impacted states may enter Connecticut if they have had a negative viral test (not an antibody test) for COVID-19 in the 72 hours prior to travel," states Connecticut's travel advisory website.
The criteria for impacted states are those that have a high infection rate are 10 infections per 100,000 residents on a seven-day rolling average or 10 percent or higher of the state's total positive test rate on a rolling seven-day average.
Governor Ned Lamont announced Monday he was pausing the start of the state's Phase 3 reopening indefinitely. The third phase was scheduled to begin in mid to late July and would have included the reopening of bars. The pause comes as a result of spikes occurring in other states around the country.
Lamont emphasized that Connecticut never opened restaurants to more than 50% capacity. The state will maintain its current restrictions around the number of people allowed at social gatherings -- 25-person gatherings inside and 100 people outside.
Beginning in mid-July, indoor private gatherings were set to expand to 50 people with outdoor private gatherings able to increase to 250 people. Graduations fall under the outdoor private gathering restrictions, though there is currently a one-time exception for graduations to be capped at 150 people. Outdoor event venues, including amphitheaters and race tracks would have been able to increase to 50% of fire capacity -- they are currently limited to 25%.
"If we learned one thing, it's how much safer it is outdoors than indoors," Lamont said.
Confirmed cases are on the rise in 41 out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia, and the percentage of tests coming back positive for the virus is increasing in 39 states. Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious disease expert, says the new COVID patients are roughly 15 years younger compared with the new cases just a few months ago.
Frequently Asked Questions on Connecticut's Travel Advisory
The below is a frequently asked questions guide provided by the State of Connecticut:
How is this going to be enforced? This is an advisory and we are strongly urging visitors to Connecticut to take this step. It will be up to individuals to abide by the advisory.
How are the impacted states chosen? The advisory applies to any person arriving from a state with a daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate for COVID-19 tests over a 7-day rolling average. The list of states is fluid and will be updated weekly onto this website.
Who does the advisory apply to? This travel advisory also applies to Connecticut residents who are returning from a visit to the impacted states.
What does quarantine mean? Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. Those in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, and monitor their health.
Are there any exemptions for essential travel? Yes. Workers traveling from impacted states to Connecticut who work in critical infrastructure as designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, including students in exempt health care professions, are exempted from the quarantine advisory. This includes any state, local, and federal officials and employees traveling in their official capacities on government business.
How long is the quarantine? The advisory is for visitors to Connecticut from the impacted states to quarantine and self-monitor for 14-days. Those coming for shorter stays can quarantine and self-monitor for less than that if their stay is shorter.
If I am coming to Connecticut to a hotel or bed and breakfast, can I do the quarantine there? Yes. Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey are all asking hotels to communicate the 14-day quarantine to guests who have traveled from one of the impacted states.
Does the quarantine recommendation also extend to passengers flying to Connecticut on connecting flights that stop in high infection states before arriving in Connecticut? No. Quarantine does not apply to travelers who just have a layover in an impacted state.
If I live in Connecticut and have a household member or guest returning from an impacted state, do I and other household members who have not traveled to an impacted state also need to self quarantine? Out-of-state visitors from impacted states are encouraged to postpone travel. If not possible to delay travel, individuals are encouraged to self-quarantine in the home they are returning to in Connecticut. If not possible to self-quarantine from other household members, those other household members who did not travel from an impacted state are not required to self-quarantine.
Can travelers be tested for COVID-19 instead of self-quarantine? Quarantine is the best option to prevent spread of disease. However, if a 14-day self-quarantine is not possible, travelers from the impacted states may enter Connecticut if they have had a negative viral test (not an antibody test) for COVID-19 in the 72 hours prior to travel.
Should non-essential travel to impacted states be avoided? Yes. Because of the risk of contracting infection, and because of the need to self-quarantine on return, Connecticut residents are urged to avoid travel to the impacted states whenever possible.