This story was reported by Alfonso A. Castillo, Candice Ferrette, Bart Jones, David Reich-Hale and Joie Tyrrell. It was written by Jones.
Travelers from eight more states must self-quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday, bringing the total to 16 in efforts to fend off a resurgence of the coronavirus that has continued to spread around the country.
The new states, added to the travel advisory list because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus among their residents, are California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee.
Already on the list were: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
“The virus is raging all across the nation and that’s because we have a federal government that just missed this,” Cuomo told NY1. “They denied it from the first place, let’s be honest … If you don't admit you have a problem, you're not going to come up with a solution."
Now, with the virus surging in other states, “We’re afraid that they are going to fly in to New York and cause the same problem, and it’s only getting worse," he said
The quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average, or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.
Coronavirus cases are spiking in states that reopened quickly and relaxed stay-at-home orders. Some are backtracking, shutting down bars, restaurants and beaches, among other measures.
States such as Florida and Texas have broken single-day records of new cases repeatedly over the last week, while cities such as Houston are warning that their hospitals are reaching capacity.
There has been no national approach to the coronavirus crisis, with each state — and even counties and cities — devising their own policies.
On Monday, Cuomo called on President Donald Trump to at least institute a nationwide requirement for people to wear a mask when they are near others. He challenged Trump to start wearing a mask himself to set an example.
Complicating matters, Cuomo said that "in New York City, we have a compliance issue, and it’s real. You look at people on the sidewalks, you look at people by bars, you’re seeing the congregations that we were so good at preventing for so long.”
And he asked the people of New York City: “Don’t forget the discipline, don’t forget the masks, don’t forget the socially distancing. That’s what brought us down, and that will create a problem again.”
Cuomo said he was sending State Police, Department of Health monitors, and State Liquor Authority workers into New York City's streets to see if people are complying. "I've said to the local governments in New York, also on Long Island, we have an issue, they have to enforce the compliance," he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, told senators Tuesday that the United States is "going in the wrong direction," with the coronavirus surging badly enough that some regions are putting the entire country at risk.
Fauci said coronavirus cases — already at about 40,000 a day — could grow to 100,000 a day if Americans don’t start following public health recommendations.
Seeking 'snapshot' of compliance
Cuomo said the "snapshot" he gets of compliance will influence his decision whether New York City can move into Phase 3 on Monday. That stage permits indoor dining, with limits on the number of diners, but Cuomo said indoor dining has proved to be problematic and announced he may slow down the city's progression to prevent spread.
Cuomo said health officials believe air conditioning systems may be circulating the virus through restaurants and other businesses, and that the state may start to recommend or mandate the use of special filters that remove small particles, down to the size of the COVID-19 virus. On Monday, he said all large malls must install the filters before they reopen.
Preventive measures could go a long way for patrons to be generally safe eating indoors at a restaurant, said Dr. Bruce Polsky, chairman of medicine at NYU Winthrop.
"If people adhere to the guidance, and it's properly enforced, it should be safe," Polsky said. "It breaks down when establishments can't properly enforce the rules, including not allowing people to stand around at a bar. Once that sort of thing happens, it can fall apart."
LI officials see progress in numbers
Nassau reported 27 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus Monday, while Suffolk had 46, according to state data released Tuesday. New York City had 240 new cases.
For the first time since March, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients dropped below 70, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.
He said the county's COVID-19 numbers are still “very good.”
County Executive Laura Curran said she saw similar trends in Nassau: “We know what to do and we are doing it and that’s why we continue to reopen as the numbers go down."
The daily death toll Monday was 13.
The statewide infection level Monday was 1%, "which is where it's supposed to be," Cuomo said. The level on Long Island was 1.1%, and in New York City it was 1%, according to state data released Tuesday. There was a one-day increase of 38 patients in hospitalizations across the state to 891.
In this region, Northwell Health said Tuesday it had 155 COVID-19 patients, compared to about 3,400 at its peak in April.
The state said 524 people were positive for the virus out of 52,025 tested.
Cuomo said the Capital Region is cleared to enter Phase 4 of its reopening Wednesday. State health authorities are investigating potential COVID-19 exposure at a Roman Catholic church in upstate Ticonderoga, where one person who attended a religious service has tested positive for the virus.
The state university system announced it has temporarily suspended SAT/ACT standardizing testing requirements for high school students intending to enroll for the 2021-22 academic year, SUNY officials said.
The change applies to the spring 2021, fall 2021 and spring 2022 cycles.
In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced plans to install a dozen vending machines that will dispense personal protective equipment, or PPE, across 10 subway stations, as the transit system prepares to serve more riders.
The machines will sell face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
MTA officials on Tuesday gave the media a first glimpse at new protective barriers being installed on city buses to protect drivers. The precautions aim to shield bus operators from riders, while allowing the resumption of regular fare collection.