ALBANY, N.Y. - New York will monitor the list of flights entering New York to ensure passengers will quarantine for coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
A day after New York, New Jersey and Connecticut agreed to ask all people from states with high COVID-19 infection rates to quarantine for 14 days, Cuomo said New York will randomly check with people who fly into the state to make sure they are abiding by the order. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported this story, which is a part of the USA TODAY Network.
"Well, we know people who fly in. You fly in here from another state, we know what flight you came in on," Cuomo said Thursday on CNN's New Day.
"And we'll have inspectors who are randomly looking at the names on the list and calling to follow up to make sure you're quarantining."
Cuomo has warned that people who do not quarantine and are caught could face a court order to force a mandatory quarantine or face major fines.
But he said Thursday, "I think most people are going to honor it. They understand why we're doing this."
The governors of the three states are in a role reversal: They have among the lowest COVID-19 rates in the nation after being among the worst as the virus spread in March and April.
Now New York, New Jersey and Connecticut want to keep their infection rates from skyrocketing from people coming in from other states.
Eight states were put on the initial quarantine list: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Texas.
Other states could soon be added. California, for example, exceeded 10 new daily positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents on a seven-day average on Wednesday, which would meet the criteria to be added to the list.
Cuomo said the quarantine "is not a blockade," but instead a move by states to regulate their own public health.
He said the order will be enforced random airport checks, reminders at hotels or if you happen to get pulled over and are from one of the states on the list.
"You get sick, and you go to a hospital from out of state and you test positive and you've been within the 14 days, you violated the law. You are going to have a problem," Cuomo said.
New York is in the midst of a four-phase reopening plan, with five upstate regions, including central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier, hitting Phase 4 on Friday.
But the slow reopening in New York hasn't led to a surge in new coronavirus cases. New York has more than 24,700 deaths from the virus, the most in the nation, but the death rate and new caseload has been minimal in recent weeks.
Cuomo said Thursday that New York had 996 current hospitalizations due to the virus on Wednesday and only 17 deaths attributed to coronavirus — among the lowest marks since the pandemic hit the state.
"We worked very hard in New York, and the people of New York sacrificed for the past three months," he said.
"They closed down, they wear masks, they socially distance. We have the virus under control and we don't want to see it go up again."
Joseph Spector is the New York state editor for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at JSPECTOR@Gannett.com or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany
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