March 28 (UPI) — Rhode Island police officers plan start pulling over cars and knocking on doors to track down visitors from New York on Saturday as part of an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Gina Raimondo said.
She said any travelers from New York in Rhode Island will be forced to quarantine for 14 days. Those who don’t could face jail time.
“Right now we have a pinpointed risk,” Raimondo said Friday during a news conference. “That risk is called New York City.”
Police officers and members of the National Guard will ask people throughout the state whether they’ve been in New York recently. They’ll also pull over cars with New York state license plates, with a particular focus on the Newport Bridge area.
Rhode Island isn’t the only state working to restrict travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alaska is requiring a 14-day quarantine for anyone outside the state, Hawaii is asking visitors to stay way and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said anyone from the New York area must stay in quarantine for two weeks after arriving in Florida.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear urged residents not to travel to Tennessee and officials in the Florida Keys set up two checkpoints preventing tourists from reaching the islands.
The restrictions come as the United States overtook Italy with the most number of known coronavirus cases in the world. Johns Hopkins University said the United States had at least 104,000 cases and 1,700 deaths as of Saturday morning. The New York Times’ tracker put the case count at 102,000 and the number of deaths at 1,646.
New York is the United States’ epicenter for the outbreak, with 44,600 cases and some 500 deaths.
One of the hardest hit areas in the state was the suburb of New Rochelle, has seen a recent slowing of new cases, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday. The town reported 38 new cases over the past four days.
“Everybody talks about flattening the curve, and I think that’s exactly what we were able to do in New Rochelle,” Dr. Sherlita Amler, the Westchester County health commissioner, told The New York Times. “We know we can’t stop every single case, but our goal was to reduce the number of cases, and I do think the measures were successful in doing that.”
In the Midwest, President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for Michigan on Saturday. The state’s caseload has grown in recent days, with 3,600 confirmed cases and 93 dead.
The president has now signed disaster declarations in 15 states and territories.