Christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Gov. Ned Lamont (Christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT —( Updated 9:13 p.m.) Gov. Ned Lamont spoke with a White House official Saturday about the possibility of a “mandatory” quarantine for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut that have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus.

“Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hot spot,” President Donald Trump said in remarks on the White House lawn Saturday. “New York, New Jersey, maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantined. I’m thinking about that right now.”

Trump later tweeted that “I have asked the @CDCgov to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the Federal Government. A quarantine will not be necessary.”

The CDC issued an advisory which “urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.”

Lamont declined to speculate exactly what Trump may have meant by his earlier comments.

“Words matter and those words have created a certain amount of confusion,” Lamont said. “When you lack clarity, that can create confusion.”

Lamont said he reminded the White House official during the call that Connecticut has already called on residents to stay at home.

And if interstate travel is absolutely necessary, Lamont already has asked people to self-quarantine for 14 days following their arrival. Unlike Rhode Island, Lamont hasn’t asked the National Guard to stop vehicles with New York license plates.

Lamont said there are too many roads in between New York and Connecticut to do what Rhode Island is doing. He said it would be “impossible to enforce.” However, he was intrigued what Rhode Island is doing about short-term renters by requiring them to give the state notification of their arrival from out-of-state.

Lamont said he’s been in close contact with New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island with the governors of the states acting regionally whenever possible.

“We’re discouraging people from traveling and asking them to stay at home as much as possible,” Lamont said.

He touted the fact that ridership on Metro-North is down 95%.

He said Trump needs to be very careful about what he means when he says “mandatory quarantine,” because of the economic impact such words have in the tri-state area.

Lamont said he’s happy to work with the White House to get more done, but he’s not sure exactly what a “mandatory quarantine” would look like or what Trump was contemplating.

He said he expects to get more clarification later tonight. He chalked up Trump’s comments to “thinking out loud.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal called a mandatory quarantine “unworkable, unenforceable, and possibly unconstitutional. It is also unsupported by medical or scientific facts. It’s more Trump ad hoc edict based on impulse, not informed judgment.”

Lamont said the White House is looking into whether they have the legal authority to do it.

“These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary measures, but we’re also a nation of laws,” Lamont said. “We’re the ones who have to enforce these laws so you have to work with us in a collaborative way.”

Lamont declined to speculate on what a tougher enforcement of social distancing would look like in Connecticut if he has to take further action.

As of Saturday there were a total of 1,524 Connecticut residents who tested positive, 33 have died, and 205 people have been hospitalized. A total of 10,200 tests have been performed both by the state and private labs.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo Saturday reported that 728 people have died in the state because of the coronavirus and said there were 52,318 confirmed cases, including 7,681 new cases.

In Rhode Island 203 people have tested positive.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and COO Josh Geballe give an update at 6 pm on how the state is responding to Trumps suggested quarantine.

Posted by CTNewsJunkie on Saturday, March 28, 2020