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Travelers to NY must test for virus, nearby states exempted

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  New York is now requiring travelers from non-neighboring states to test for COVID-19 before and after arrival in the state.

The state is scrapping its list that required residents of most states to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New York.

Instead, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday travelers from all non-neighboring states must test negative twice for COVID-19 before they may stop quarantining.

First, they must test negative for COVID-19 within three days before arriving in New York.

Once in New York, they will have to quarantine for three days and then, take a second test. If that's negative, they can stop quarantining.

Travelers who decide not to get tested will be required to quarantine for 14 days, the governor said.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers who are out-of-state for less than 24 hours only need to take a coronavirus test within four days of returning to the state.

Cuomo said enforcement would be up to New York airports and county health departments, but didn't lay out exactly how they would do so.

The rules don't apply to neighboring states. Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey are also seeing an uptick in cases along with New York. Cuomo said 2,049 people newly tested positive Friday for COVID-19.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut had announced a joint travel advisory this summer, when the Northeast saw fewer COVID-19 positive cases than the rest of the nation. States qualified for the joint quarantine list once they had 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past week.

Cuomo's Saturday announcement comes as his state has neared its own threshold: it has reported an average of 9.983 new cases per 100,000 over the last seven days.

And Cuomo acknowledged it's becoming increasingly difficult to enforce the travel advisory, despite his push to fine airport travelers who don't fill out contact tracing forms.

"The list started small and then the list got longer and longer and longer," he said. "At one point it was no longer a list, it was all inclusive. Now, you don't have a list."

The state has reported nearly 47,500 positives in October, nearly double about 24,500 positive tests reported in September. New York is boosting testing in monitored hot spots in New York City, suburbs north of the city and in rural communities along the state's northern border with Pennsylvania.

New York hospitals reported 1,121 COVID-19 patients as of Friday, up from a six-month low of 410 on Sept. 5.

New York's seen a gradual uptick this fall, but far below the spring peak when COVID-19 cases mounted. In April, the state recorded almost 222,450 new positives. Hospitals reported over 18,000 hospitalized Coronavirus patients for eight days through April 14.

New York City's hospital leaders have said they can handle the current levels of hospitalization, which has ticked up at about 2% each day over the past month. That's in line with the recent national growth in hospitalizations, according to the latest data from the COVID Tracking Project.

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