HARTFORD, CT — Gov. Ned Lamont and his staff are working with a regional group of governors to discuss what they can do to prevent people from other states coming to the region and causing another coronavirus outbreak.
Travelers from other states that may have a higher infection rate than Connecticut could be asked to quarantine for 14 days or prove they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 within the past couple of days.
States like Florida have seen their cases increase and their COVID positivity rate increase to 11.4%, according to COVIDExitStrategy. Connecticut’s COVID positivity rate has decreased to about 1%.
While a lot of snowbirds may be returning to Connecticut from Florida, Lamont said they’re not looking to target specific states. They are looking to devise a blanket policy that would apply to all travelers.
Lamont said most travelers from other states enter the region through the airports like Kennedy and LaGuardia in New York or Newark in New Jersey and Bradley in Windsor Locks.
“I think the idea of self-quarantining is tough especially if they’re coming up for a short period of time,” Lamont said. “I see this in Maine and other states where they’re just requiring the testing coming up. I think it makes good sense.”
Lamont’s Chief of Staff, Paul Mounds, said he’s been in talks with his counterparts in New York and New Jersey about what they should do about travelers from other states.
Mounds said that Massachusetts has had an executive order in place since March 28 that requires travelers from outside the state to self-quarantine for 14 days. He said it’s not related to infection rate or COVID-related activities in other states.
As of Monday, 45,782 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 4,263 have died.
A total number of 395,590 tests have been performed. The state has initially said it wanted to be performing 100,000 tests over seven days, but over the past seven days it has only performed 41,145 tests.
“You’ve got states with a positivity rate of 10 to 15 percent,” Lamont said. “In Palm Beach in Florida, or Miami in Florida or Phoenix in Arizona or Austin in Texas, really selectively the infection rate is a lot higher. We are talking about some sort of regional quarantine. If these folks want to come to the New York metropolitan area, the Boston metropolitan area, you know perhaps they should show that they’ve been tested in the very recent past or they should quarantine.”
Lamont said Vice President Mike Pence pointed out Monday that there are 3,000 counties in the United States and “flare ups” are taking place in about 100.
Lamont said it’s easy for Connecticut residents to think the numbers are trending in the right direction and they might be able to relax, “but this is no time to relax.”
He asked people to ignore what they heard this weekend about testing from President Donald Trump.
At a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump said “When you do testing to that extent, you’re gonna find more people, you’re gonna find more cases. So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”
Lamont said there’s nothing more important than getting tested.
“If you have symptoms get tested immediately,” Lamont said. “If you live in one of our cities in a more congested area get tested monthly, no matter what, no questions asked.”