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Rhode Island added to Connecticut's COVID-19 travel advisory

Rhode Island was added Tuesday to the list of “affected states” on Connecticut’s COVID-19 travel advisory, while Delaware and Washington, D.C., were removed.

The designation, requiring travelers from states on the list to self-quarantine for 14 days, does not apply to essential workers who commute between Connecticut and Rhode Island, according to Max Reiss, a spokesman for Gov. Ned Lamont.

"As the governor's executive order spells out, the advisory explicitly applies to people spending more than 24 hours in an impacted state and does not include anyone staying in Connecticut for less than 24 hours," Reiss said. "If you're coming from Rhode Island to work, you do your shift and return home. We're strongly encouraging people not to stay for an extended period."

Electric Boat and the casinos are examples of major southeastern Connecticut employers whose workforces include a considerable number of Rhode Islanders. EB employees and medical workers are exempt from the advisory because they are considered essential, as are state, local and federal officials and employees traveling in their official capacities on government business.

The advisory does not apply to Foxwoods Resort Casino employees because their stay in Connecticut would be less than 24 hours, Jason Guyot, the casino's interim chief executive officer, said in an email. "Also, their work is considered to be part of the critical infrastructure subsector in the Commercial Facilities Sector, as defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency."

"Team members who live in Rhode Island should continue to take all necessary precautions — avoid indoor social gatherings, (avoid) outdoor crowds; keep social distancing; continue to use masks; and follow strict hand hygiene," Guyot wrote. "Guests who travel to Foxwoods for less than a 24-hour period are also exempt from this travel restriction."

"Electric Boat’s employees living in Connecticut and traveling to and from work in Rhode Island also are not required to quarantine as employees are spending less than 24 hours outside of the state," EB spokeswoman Liz Power said by email Tuesday evening. The company "has strict mask and social distancing policies, which help to ensure that employees are minimizing the potential spread of COVID-19."

"Electric Boat has established procedures for employees who are traveling for business and personal reasons, which include self-monitoring and testing prior to returning to the office from travel," she wrote. "Those procedures are in line with state regulations and public health guidance."

While it is not checking travelers entering Connecticut on state highways, the state is requiring those arriving by air to fill out forms indicating where and with whom they will be staying in the event they need to be involved in contact tracing.

A spokesman for Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo acknowledged Rhode Island's status as an affected state.

"There are COVID-19 risks associated with travel. Avoiding frequent, nonessential travel between states is one way that someone can decrease their chances of being exposed to COVID-19," said Joseph Wendelken, public information officer for the Rhode Island Department of Health. "We have been reminding people throughout this response about how important it is to keep your groups consistent and small."

Connecticut's travel advisory now list 34 affected states and Puerto Rico. The 15 states not on the list are: Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Connecticut has seen 50,110 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 so far, the governor's office reported Tuesday afternoon, an increase of 48 from the number reported Monday. Associated deaths remained flat in the state at 4,437, while hospitalizations climbed by four to 60. The results of 834,303 have been reported to the state so far, an increase of 7,090 since Monday's report.

New London County has seen 1,358 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far, an increase of seven from the number reported Monday, while probable cases remained flat at 63. Confirmed and probable associated deaths remained the same, at 77 and 26, respectively. The number of hospitalizations — two — also remained the same.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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