Delaware's governor pushed back on a decision announced Tuesday that ordered residents from the First State to self-quarantine for 14 days if visiting New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the decision was aimed at travelers from COVID-19 hotspots. Travelers from Kansas and Oklahoma were also added to a 19-state list Tuesday.
Carney said despite an uptick in cases at the southern beach towns - like Rehoboth and Dewey - the state was getting the virus under control and was not in the same league as other states that have struggled to contain the virus. He said he hadn't spoken to Murphy or Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Ned Lamont, but planned to.
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"We’re not frankly in the same ballpark as the other states that are identified similarly," Carney said in a press conference Tuesday. "And so I don’t think that we should be singled out, certainly not by our partners in the region that we’ve tried to help when they needed our help." He later mentioned that Delaware had offered ventilators to New Jersey when their outbreak was at its peak, overwhelming North Jersey hospitals.
Delaware closed its beach bars ahead of the holiday weekend to help curb the spread. State contact tracers had identified bars and beach visits as a contributor to rising cases. And Rehoboth Beach made masks mandatory in all public places.
"It's a little difficult on the beach, but people are carrying or wearing their masks as much as possible," Rehoboth Beach Mayor Paul Kuhns told NBC10 in a live interview recently.
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Carney and Dr. Karyl Rattay, who heads the Delaware Division of Public Health, said the state is seeing more cases in young people. It has also conducted 220 on-site inspections at businesses after receiving more than 700 emailed complaints about customers or staff not wearing masks, not practicing social distancing, or other virus-related health concerns, Rattay said. Most businesses addressed the changes they needed to make and 35 inspected businesses had no violations.
The advisory from Murphy and the other governors covers states with a positive test rate above 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average, or states with a 10% or higher positivity rate over the same period.
Carney said Delaware's numbers barely fit that bill, with a statewide average of 5.3% positive over 5 days. (In 19971, a ZIP code that covers Rehoboth and some other beach towns, the percent positive rate was 6.34% out of over 4,000 tests of lifeguards, restaurant workers and residents.)
He also said Delaware's cases per 100,000 were just inside the range that Murphy and others specified.
"We’re just a little above that. Some days we’re below it. So I’m not sure where that puts us. I don’t want to be in that category."
New Jersey is in the midst of reopening and has seen its transmission and positivity rates fall from peaks in April, though Murphy said Monday the uptick in the latest figures mean the economic restart is likely to slow down.
He already abandoned plans to allow dining indoors to resume.
The travel advisory cannot be constitutionally enforced, Murphy has said, though he's urged people to use caution when considering a trip to the state.
Electronic billboards on New Jersey's highways urge travelers to call 511 to determine their quarantine status.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness or death.