Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr
New coronavirus testing sites will be set up at John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports to limit the spread of the virus from out-of-state visitors, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday. The testing sites will allow “faster testing of people coming in, including hospital staff,” the governor said during a press briefing. The additional measure comes as New York saw a record low COVID-19 test positivity rate of 0.66 percent on Monday, making it the 17th straight day with a positivity rate below 1 percent.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New York City Health and Hospitals will be setting up the new airport testing sites. The tests will be for incoming passengers.
According to the Democrat & Chronicle, the Port Authority launched earlier a pilot testing program with XpresCheck at JFK’s Terminal 4 earlier this summer for airport and airline workers. It expanded to all travelers last week, with the agency soon expanding similar technology to travelers at Newark Airport as well.
In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 from people traveling to New York from places with high rates of the virus, the state and city have implemented a number of measures, including a quarantine order for travelers coming from places with significant community spread.
Visitors coming to New York from more than 30 states, plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arriving. Places that make the travel advisory list have positive test rates of more than 10 percent across a seven-day rolling average.
State officials are currently set up at arrival terminals to greet disembarking passengers and collect the traveler registration health form, which airlines are distributing to passengers on board. All travelers from the designated states must complete the form upon entering. Those who do not complete the form “will be subject to a $2,000 fine and may be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine,” according to the advisory.
And earlier this month, the city launched checkpoints at major transit hubs, tunnels, and bridges to ensure compliance with quarantine compliance. The Sheriff’s Office has been conducting random stops of vehicles coming into the city to remind drivers from high-risk states about the mandatory quarantine and require them to fill out the travel form.
Failure to quarantine is considered a violation of state law and individuals could be subject to fines as high as $10,000.
“Over the past couple of weeks, our infection rate has stayed below one percent. Congratulations to New Yorkers for their hard work in getting us to this point, but we must keep up that work and continue wearing our masks and socially distancing,” Cuomo said. “Our progress shows that this virus responds to science, not politics. It’s a function of medicine and science and biology and should be treated that way.”
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