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Governor Announces Quarantine Requirements for People Entering New York State

On June 24th, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order requiring all individuals traveling from states with “significant community-wide spread” of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. The quarantine requirement took effect June 25th. The Department of Health (DOH) has issued interim guidance, which appears to indicate that this requirement includes not only visitors, but also New York State residents returning from the affected states. There are exceptions for essential workers, which are described below. The guidance is not entirely clear, and the following is our understanding of the information available at this time. We will update members as more information becomes available.

Significant community-wide spread exists in states with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10 percent test positivity rate, over a seven-day rolling average. The impacted states are published on the DOH website. The quarantine restrictions currently apply to anyone traveling from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. The quarantine requirements do not apply to any individual passing through designated states for a limited duration (i.e., less than 24 hours) through the course of travel (e.g., layovers, rest area stops, etc.). Any violation of a quarantine or isolation order may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000.

Essential workers are exempt from travel-related quarantine but are subject to certain requirements. Essential workers appear to include nursing home, adult care facility (ACF), home care, hospice, and other health care and elder care workers, based on references in the travel guidance to prior guidance issued by Empire State Development and the COVID-19 testing protocol. The Empire State Development guidance includes among “essential health care operations” nursing homes, home care aides, and senior/elder care. Likewise, the protocol for COVID-19 testing includes individuals “employed as a health care worker, first responder, employee of a nursing home, long-term care facility, or other congregate care facility, or other essential employee who directly interacts with the public while working.”

For LeadingAge NY members with employees or contract staff returning from travel in high-spread states, the exemption from quarantine for “Long-Term” essential workers “fulfilling extended employment obligations” appears to apply, although the guidance mentions workers staying “several days.” The following provisions apply to essential workers anticipating Long-Term stays after travel to affected states:

  • Essential workers should seek diagnostic testing for COVID-19 as soon as possible upon arrival (within 24 hours) to ensure that they are not positive.
  • Essential workers should monitor temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distancing, and clean and disinfect workspaces for a minimum of 14 days.
  • Essential workers, to the extent possible, are required to avoid extended periods in public, contact with strangers, and large congregate settings for a period of, at least, seven days.

Notably, in referring to previously issued return-to-work guidance, the travel-related quarantine guidance provides, as an example, that “for a nursing home worker, a negative test PCR test will be required before return to work.” We have sought clarification from the Department regarding whether this is in fact required. Under the guidance, all essential workers and their employers are directed to comply with previously issued DOH guidance regarding return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the employee had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19. LeadingAge NY members should follow the return-to-work guidance applicable to their licensure or industry sector.

Contact: Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8838