NJ is a COVID hotspot again but its airport contact-tracing isn't keeping up with NY, passengers say
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When Victor Padro traveled 真人百家家乐官网网站home from Texas for a work trip, he was greeted by New York health representatives a few steps after deboarding the plane that landed at LaGuardia Airport.
He was stopped, handed a pen and a form for COVID-19 contact tracing, including flight information, contact numbers, email and where he was headed to begin a 14-day quarantine.
Padro said a fellow passenger who walked away without the form got tracked down to come back and fill it out after being warned about a possible fine.
"Two days later, I get a call an actual phone call, from a New York State contact tracer. They want to ask all these questions: where have you been, and it was kind of interesting because they were asking about symptoms, telling me I should check my temperature every day and then record it in case they ask for it," the paralegal said.
This was followed by periodic calls and texts about whether symptoms arose and a countdown to the end of his quarantine.
"I kind of enjoyed it," he said about complying with New York's post-flight contact tracing protocol.
New York's contact tracing diligence at airports appears to be more aggressive than New Jersey's more voluntary request for participation four months after the two states jointly announced their "hot spot" quarantine strategy for travelers from states with high numbers.
The situation has become more urgent.
New Jersey qualified as a "hot spot" by its own definition as its numbers have recently steadily risen with 1,477 new infection cases and 1,072 hospitalizations reported Thursday — numbers that have not been this high since late spring and early summer.
Two states, different airports and their contact tracing
Padro recognized the difference between the two states after talking to colleagues who returned from the same trip, but landed at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
There, passengers are asked to voluntarily fill out an online form, though some have reported not being told about it when landing at the nation's 12th busiest airport (pre-pandemic) or receiving follow-up from contact tracers if they did.
"It was just night and day in the two states that’s supposed to be together on this," Padro said.
Others on social media offered similar assessments of New Jersey's protocol.
"I know people who flew into Newark from Puerto Rico and then drove into NY," Annette Caraballo wrote on Twitter earlier this month.
"They were not given a health form to sign at Newark airport. No tracking/tracing. This is part of why (numbers) are going up. Please do better."
Infection rates on the rise
New Jersey had a positivity rate of 3.77% compared to New York at 1.39%, the second lowest in the nation, according to Johns Hopkins University research using a seven-day rolling average released Wednesday.
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