New State Travel Advisory Policy
On Nov. 4th, the State implemented a new travel advisory policy that replaces the weekly list of states – which had grown to encompass nearly the whole country – with a new test-based strategy. Under the new policy, travelers coming to New York from states that are not contiguous to New York, or after travel to any Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice country, must quarantine for 14 days unless they satisfy the test-based requirement to exit quarantine early. All travelers covered by this policy must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form. This updated interim guidance provides details regarding the new policy as well as a process by which individuals can request an exemption for extraordinary circumstances. If an individual gets a positive test result, local health departments will become involved for next steps. For general inquiries on this, contact the State COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or Ask a Question. To file a report of an individual failing to adhere to the quarantine pursuant to the travel guidelines, click here or call 1-833-789-0470.
“Essential workers” are exempt from this policy and, absent updated guidance, should continue to follow provider-specific guidance for the conditions under which they can return to work. Specifically, adult care facility (ACF), home care, hospice, and other non-nursing home providers should follow this guidance. The requirements for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are less clear, as there is no nursing home-specific guidance for returning to work after travel. Pending the issuance of updated guidance for nursing homes, facilities should consider following the updated interim guidance and the previously issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), which allow essential workers to return to work if certain requirements are met, including, among others:
- Furloughing such health care personnel (HCP) would result in staff shortages that would adversely impact operation of the health care entity, and all other staffing options have been exhausted
- HCPs are asymptomatic
- HCP received diagnostic testing for COVID-19 within 24 hours of arrival in New York
In addition, as indicated question 6 of this DOH directive issued June 24th on testing FAQs, the staff person must be tested upon return and, must not report to work until a negative result for COVID-19 is received. Such individual may return to work upon receipt of such negative test result and resume testing at the regular interval for such facility.
More information can be found on the DOH Travel Advisory website.
Previous Policy and Background
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. “Essential workers” may be exempt from quarantine if furloughs would create a staffing shortage, but they must meet certain requirements, including testing within 24 hours of return from an impacted state. These requirements took effect June 25th. DOH has issued interim guidance and FAQs. Click here for more information.