Don’t travel for Thanksgiving, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recommended Wednesday.
“The best way to say ‘I love you’ this Thanksgiving, the best way to say ‘I am so thankful for you’ … is to say I don’t want to endanger you,” Cuomo said in a conference call Wednesday.
He urged people to “celebrate virtually” instead.
Most family gatherings are far less than the 50-person limit in the state, he acknowledged.
“’I’m just having a small gathering for Thanksgiving.’ I know, but that could be dangerous,” he said. “Our problem at one time was large gatherings … . We’re now getting it from small gatherings.”
A wedding in Genesee led to 18 cases. One gathering at a church in Lewis County, “which is not a highly-dense county,” Cuomo said, had 57 cases. A birthday party in Suffolk County led to 22 cases, Cuomo said.
But he added that he’s not stopping New Yorkers from traveling.
“Factually, legally, New Yorkers can travel wherever they want … but they have to live with the quarantine policy,” he said.
Those who travel to a state on the mandatory quarantine list must quarantine for 14 days after returning home. Children can’t go to school during that quarantine, even if they test negative for coronavirus after the trip.
One local school district is already emphasizing that. Lake George school officials posted a letter on the school website urging families to think carefully about their Thanksgiving plans.
“As the holiday travel season approaches, the Lake George Central School District administration would like to remind families about the New York state travel advisory and how it can impact your child’s ability to attend school,” they wrote.
They noted that if a child travels to a state on the quarantine list and does not quarantine, officials will remove the child from class as soon as they learn of the trip.
“It does not matter how your family travels (airplane, car, bus, train, etc.),” the letter said. “Once you return to New York, your entire family is expected to quarantine at home for 14 days regardless of a negative COVID-19 test. This means your child will not be allowed to attend in person classes for the entire quarantine period.”
If a visitor comes to the household for Thanksgiving and later tests positive, the children in the household will not be allowed to go to school until they finish a 14-day quarantine, school officials added.
“If your guest receives a positive COVID-19 test, your child will be required to quarantine for 14 days regardless of a negative COVID-19 test for your child. Also, all other family members deemed as an exposure to the sick guest will be required to quarantine for 14 days regardless of a negative COVID-19 test,” the letter said.
Families should urge visitors to stay home if they feel sick, wear a mask and stay 6 feet away during the visit, and avoid contact as much as possible, school officials said.
“Thank you for your cooperation during these challenging times. All of our efforts are making a positive impact on our ability to keep the schools open and the students learning in-person,” they wrote.
Warren County Health Services asked the community to avoid all non-essential travel, any gatherings of any kind, and traveling in a car with anyone other than household members.
Several people caught the virus after being exposed while traveling in a car with someone who was not living with them, Health Services said.
“Travel in vehicles with people who aren’t from your household is discouraged unless necessary for work purposes, and mask/face covering precautions should be taken when in vehicles with those who aren’t from your household,” Health Services said in the daily coronavirus report.
Warren County Health Services Director Ginelle Jones said several cases came from interstate travel, and strongly urged the public “to avoid non-essential travel as well as gatherings of any sort at this point of the pandemic.”
Also on Wednesday, Cuomo said county Departments of Health and city governments could require all students to wear masks at all times during school.
Warren County Health Services did not immediately make any decision on that.
“Warren County Health Services is reviewing this new information regarding masks in schools. Health Services staff are continuously reviewing safety plans with Warren County school administrators, and will discuss this proposal with them as well,” county spokesman Don Lehman said. “If there is any new countywide policy put in place, there will be extensive outreach about it.”
- Warren County reported one new case, a person who tested positive in another county and came to Warren County to isolate at a family home. That brings the county’s total to 398 confirmed cases since March. Eighteen people are currently ill and none are hospitalized. Warren County is in “yellow” in Vermont’s travel advisory, requiring a 14-day quarantine by county residents before visiting Vermont and requiring Vermont residents to quarantine after their visit.
- Washington County reported five new cases, for a total of 327 confirmed cases since March. Tracers have not been able to trace those back to a source, and the cases had no impact on establishments, such as schools, according to the county. Eleven people are currently ill and one person is hospitalized. Washington County is in “green” in Vermont’s travel advisory, meaning visitors can cross the border in either direction without quarantining.
- Saratoga County reported 12 people tested positive, for a total of 1,329 cases since March. There were nine recoveries, for a total of 1,186 recoveries. There are 115 people currently ill, and six are hospitalized, an improvement from seven Tuesday. In Vermont’s ranking for out-of-state visitors, Saratoga County is in red, requiring a 14-day quarantine by county residents prior to visiting, and requiring Vermont residents to quarantine after their visit.
- In the northern Saratoga County towns, there were no new cases. Still ill: one Northumberland resident, one town of Saratoga resident, one Schuylerville resident, one South Glens Falls resident and nine Wilton residents. Recovered: one Moreau resident.
- Essex County reported that no one at Lee House Apartments in Moriah was in quarantine or isolation anymore, and lifted the ban on visitors there. There are five people still ill, and one is hospitalized, as well as three Essex Center nursing home residents who have been hospitalized for a long period of time.
- Saratoga Hospital reported one coronavirus patient and Glens Falls Hospital reported none.
From Tuesday, the most recent day for which the following data was available:
- The Capital Region reported a total of 54 new cases, a positive test rate of 1.1%. The goal is to control the virus by keeping the positive test rate under 1%, but four of the eight counties were above 1%.
- Columbia County was at 2.3% with 11 new cases; Greene County was at 2.1% with four new cases; Albany County was at 1.3% with 14 new cases; and Rensselaer County was at 1% with five new cases. Warren County was at 0.7% and Washington County was at 0.6% for Tuesday’s cases.
- Statewide, 2,031 people tested positive, an overall positive test rate of 1.5%. The hot spots had a positive test rate of 3.8% and the state without the hot spots had a positive test rate of 1.3%.
- There were 1,085 people hospitalized with coronavirus Tuesday and 15 people died.
In this Series
- 314 updates
Concerned about COVID-19?
Sign up now to get the most recent coronavirus headlines and other important local and national news sent to your email inbox daily.