Now that Putnam County and the Mid-Hudson region have entered Phase Four of reopening, “snow-bird” residents are returning and an increase in summer visitors is anticipated. While much is still unknown and many questions remain for communities and businesses, such as when gyms will reopen or if indoor dining will remain a part of phase four, New York State has recently issued guidance regarding travel advisories. Additionally, the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) recommends residents postpone distant travel plans and instead, invest time and money into the local economy.
For travelers entering New York, under Governor Cuomo’s executive order there is a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for all coming from a state with a positive COVID-19 test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10% test positivity rate, over a seven-day rolling average.
More states have been added to this travel advisory jointly issued by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The list has expanded from eight to sixteen, and now includes California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, and Tennessee, in addition to the states announced last week that remain on the list, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. Washington state was originally on the list and has since been removed. The advisory, updated weekly, can be found at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory.
“When feeling the urge to travel—you don’t have to look far. Our community has so much to offer. Families that have planned to spend dedicated time together this summer can discover Putnam’s beauty and rich history,” says Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Stay local. Dine outdoors in Putnam. Explore our trails and lakes. Create adventure locally. In addition to enjoying your time with your family, you will be part of the solution.”
Residents and visitors can learn about all Putnam has to offer by visiting Putnam County Tourism at https://www.putnamcountyny.com/tourputnam/. Putnam County Tourism and the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) work hand-in-hand with local officials to continue to make reopening in Putnam a success. Resources for business can be found by visiting the Putnam EDC at https://putnamedc.org/
“As we enter into Phase Four, it is important to keep up with the safety precautions that have gotten us this far,” says Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “Putnam residents have listened to the guidance and have put in a lot of hard work, but we are not out of the woods just yet. Locally we have already identified a limited number of known positive cases that are a result of travel to a state with high rates of positivity. While this number remains small and people have been isolated, when it comes to the health of your family, your community or even encountering a fine— the risks just aren’t worth it.”
Those found violating the New York travel-related quarantine order risk fines and potential loss of COVID-19 sick benefits. Violators may be subject to a judicial order and mandatory quarantine as well. A first violation could result in a $2,000 fine and could increase to $10,000 for subsequent violations or exposures.
New Yorkers are encouraged to continue to social or physical distance and wear face coverings when distancing cannot be maintained. Workers in New York should be aware that they will forgo their paid sick leave benefits from New York’s COVID-19 paid sick leave law if they engage in non-essential travel to high risk states, listed above. To report someone who did not self-quarantine, call 1-833-789-0470, visit mylicense.custhelp.com/app/ask, or call the Putnam County Department of Health at 845-808-1390.
The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services, provided directly and through collaboration, include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our county website at www.putnamcountyny.com/coronavirus; or visit our social media sites @PutnamHealthNY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.