Massachusetts residents planning to visit family in New Hampshire and Maine will demand quarantine this Thanksgiving for two weeks or have evidence of a negative COVID-19 test on their return under the latest change in state travel forces outside the state – and the same goes for visitors from two states who come here for the holidays.
As local officials are urging residents not to travel to Thanksgiving at all amid the rise in coronavirus cases this fall, a spokesman for the state’s COVID-19 Command Center Boston.com said Massachusetts will remove New Hampshire and Maine from the list of states with lower risk. effective Saturday and participates in 46 others covered by its travel booking.
This means that individuals visiting or returning from these states are now required to self-quarantine for 1
Vermont and Hawaii will be the only states considered lower risk and exempt from the travel regulations. The Department of Public Health announced the change later Friday afternoon.
Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders had hinted on Wednesday that officials expected to remove two more neighboring countries from the lower-risk list this week. For two weeks in a row, New Hampshire and Maine averaged over 10 new COVID-19 cases per year. 100,000 inhabitants, which was one of the thresholds that states needed to fall below to be considered lower risk.
According to the COVID-19 data tracking website used for the travel order, New Hampshire and Maine averaged 27 and 14 new cases per year, respectively. 100,000 inhabitants Friday. Vermont also has an average of over 10 new cases per year. 100,000 inhabitants this week – but did not last week (states must exceed the threshold for two weeks in a row to be removed from the list of lower risk).
Massachusetts averaged nearly 38 cases per year. 100,000 inhabitants from Friday.
Despite recently loosening the criteria for exemption from travel bookings, the nationwide increase in coronavirus cases in the autumn has resulted in DPH officials removing half a dozen other former risk states from the exempted list during the last month, including border states such as New York and Connecticut. (Rhode Island has been subject to travel bookings since August.)
There are some exceptions for cross-border travel, such as commuting to work or seeking medical attention.
The state also exempts certain short trips on the same day across the border and back that are designated as “critical life activities”, such as grocery shopping, visits to pharmacies, participation in agreements with authorized health care providers, visits to a person receiving treatment in hospitals or residing in ward care settings, attending religious or memorial services, or addressing the care needs of family members.
However, a Thanksgiving dinner does not qualify for one of these exceptions. During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Charlie Baker said he was “concerned” that reports of long queues at local COVID-19 test sites suggest many residents are ignoring administration guidance and planning to travel, in or out of state. to Thanksgiving gatherings with multiple households.
“If we treat this year just like we treat every other Thanksgiving, it is very likely that it will trigger a significant spread,” Baker said.
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