Nevada’s summer-long surge in Covid-19 infections is sounding alarm bells all over the U.S.
At least 17 states and the District of Columbia have imposed restrictions on travelers from Nevada, where more than 66,000 cases of the potentially deadly virus have been confirmed, most of them identified since the state’s casinos reopened in early June.
At their peak in the second half of July, new cases were exceeding 1,000 a day on average, though the numbers mostly have trended downward since.
More than 1,200 people in the state have died.
Most of the states with restrictions do not target Nevada specifically but apply to travelers from all states that fall on the wrong side of key criteria such as a high rate of positive results among those tested. Rates under 5 percent are generally considered indicative of a flattening curve, though health experts prefer to see less than 1 percent.
Nevada’s positivity rate at the end of last week stood at 14.9 percent. But it’s been worse. It topped 20 percent on July 21 and 22 and again on August 5, according to a Covid Act Now, a tracking site affiliated with Georgetown and Stanford universities.
The jurisdictions with travel mandates are responding to this in different ways.
Alaska, for one, requires travelers from all states to submit a “declaration of travel” along with a promise to self-quarantine. They must also provide an approved negative Covid test or take one from the state for $250.
In Hawaii, all arrivals must quarantine for 14 days or face criminal charges. Rules in effect in Vermont and New Mexico also are applied nationwide and include 14-day quarantines. In Vermont this can be shortened by taking a test on or after the seventh day. New Mexico waives its quarantine for same day arrivals and departures.
Maryland urges all out-of-state residents to be tested within 72 hours before their arrival and to cancel travel if they test positive. Visitors waiting for their results advised to self-quarantine at their hotels until they receive their results.
Maine requires arrivals from all states except Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Vermont to self-quarantine for two weeks or provide proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours of their arrival. They can opt for testing on arrival but must self-quarantine until their results are in.
Similarly, New Hampshire wants anyone arriving outside Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island to self-quarantine for two weeks.
Connecticut’s benchmark is a daily positive rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents. Those travelers, including from Nevada, must quarantine for two weeks and fill out a travel health form when they arrive.
In New York, travelers from a state with a positive testing rate of 10 percent or higher over a seven-day rolling period or had a positive test rate of 10 or more per 100,000 residents must quarantine for 14 days. Arrivals by plane must fill out a travel form before leaving the airport or face a $2,000 fine. Those arriving by car or train must fill out the form online.
Kansas requires a 14-day self-quarantine on arrivals from all states and U.S. territories with a positive rate of 15 percent or greater. Nevada is on this list too. Rhode Island has a list of 34 states with a coronavirus positivity rate of 5 percent whose travelers must self-quarantine. Ohio applies this to travelers from six states, Nevada among them.
Washington, D.C., has a list of 28 states, including Nevada, whose travelers must quarantine for two weeks.
Pennsylvania names 17 states, Nevada among them, as having “high amounts of Covid-19” whose residents are required to quarantine for two weeks.
New Jersey’s guidelines apply to 35 states, including Nevada, that meet certain coronavirus positivity rate thresholds. Those arrivals are asked to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days.
Massachusetts also names Nevada among the states whose travelers must quarantine for 14 days or provide proof of a negative test administered in within 72 hours of arrival.
Illinois recommends but doesn’t require a two-week self-quarantine for travelers from 19 states, Nevada among them, and Puerto Rico.
Idaho also recommends quarantining for all out-of-state residents but it’s not mandatory.
For its part, tourism-dependent Nevada has no restrictions in place beyond a discouraging word for those who have tested positive for the virus or who know they’re sick or who exhibit symptoms.
The state, meanwhile, has launched a new contact tracing app to bolster the its fight against the pandemic’s surge.
Officials there are urging residents to make use of the app, “Covid Trace Nevada,” it’s called, so they can be informed of their possible exposure to the contagion and the date they may have been exposed.
The information is confidential and the app is free to download on Apple’s iOS App Store and Google Play.
“The strength of this app is in the quantity of people who download it,” said Julia Peek, the state’s deputy administration of Community Health Services. “The more people who use it, the more useful it’ll be.