ALBANY — New York added Rhode Island to its traveler quarantine list Tuesday, marking the first time a New England state has been flagged for high COVID-19 infection activity since New York imposed the restrictions June 25.
Anyone who has spent more than a brief amount of time in any of the 34 states is required to quarantine themselves upon arrival in New York state, whether they live here or are visiting here. Those who don’t follow the restrictions face fines. Essential workers are exempted.
As Rhode Island was added to the list Tuesday, Delaware and the District of Columbia were removed.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the quarantine program will not entirely prevent the virus from being transported to New York from other states where infections are surging.
However, the metrics show the virus remains at a lull so far in New York state. Only three people statewide died of COVID on Monday, and for the third day in a row, there were none in New York City, where so many people died of COVID at the height of the crisis. Of 70,993 rest results reported to the state Monday, only 746 were positive.
In the Capital Region, two new deaths were reported in Albany County — both women in their 80s who lived at St. Peter’s Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.
Thirty-eight infections were confirmed among 3,548 COVID tests administered Monday across the eight-county region and 40 COVID patients were hospitalized, five of them in intensive care.
Columbia County meanwhile is the latest place in the Capital Region dealing with an infection cluster — this one stemming from golf outings on July 11-12 and July 25. There are 15 confirmed cases that can be traced to the two outings, neither of which was actually in the county.
As of Tuesday morning, 102 people countywide were under mandatory quarantine because of their connection to the golf outing cluster. The county Department of Health said the infections likely were due not to the golfing itself but the behavior of the golfers.
NEW YORK FORWARD
Also Tuesday, Cuomo provided an update on the New York Forward Loan program, which assists businesses, nonprofits and residential landlords affected by the pandemic.
The $100 million loan fund was announced in May, and $65 million of it was earmarked for small businesses — those with 20 or fewer employees and less than $3 million in gross revenues.
“The pandemic’s impact on small businesses was especially damaging and we’re not going to leave them behind,” Cuomo said in a news release Tuesday. “They are the backbone of New York’s economy and central to our recovery.”
The state announced Tuesday it had approved 61 loans totaling $2.3 million. Among the recipients was A Bead Just So, a Ballston Spa store that sells beads, repairs jewelry and hosts classes and events.
Owner Kate Fryer, who founded the specialty craft shop in 2013, secured a $27,577 working capital loan that helped retain five jobs and support her store’s reopening.
“The New York Forward Loan Fund was both my last resort and the perfect fit,” she said in the release. “No other program offered the freedom, flexibility and small business-friendly terms I needed to pay the rent, order inventory and finally reopen my store.”
The state said loan applications are still being accepted. The no-fee 60-month loans carry a 3 percent interest rate for businesses and landlords and a 2 percent interest rate for nonprofits. Maximum loan amount is $100,000.