Public health officials in Maine are continuing to monitor the spread of coronavirus in other states, and they are no closer to easing travel restrictions put in place because of the virus.
Maine requires travelers from other states to produce a negative coronavirus test or quarantine for two weeks. It exempted New Hampshire and Vermont from those requirements in late June, and added Connecticut, New York and New Jersey to the exempt list in early July.
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Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Nirav Shah said Tuesday the state recently reviewed case statistics in other states and “didn’t see anything that prompted us to move any states into the ‘can visit without negative test’ category.”
That means the travel restrictions still apply to Massachusetts, which sends droves over tourists to Maine every summer and fall. But Shah said the number of new cases per million in Massachusetts was 769, which was more than three times the number in Maine. The number in Rhode Island was even higher, he said.
Shah said it’s possible the state could ease travel restrictions on states outside the Northeast, but they would have to meet Maine’s strict criteria for containment of the virus.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker seemed somewhat exasperated when asked about the situation at his Wednesday press conference.
"I know!" he exclaimed, when asked about the state's inclusion on Maine's list.
"According to federal data, we had the second lowest positive test rate in the country, and we are in the top five or six or seven in terms of our daily cases per capita," Baker said. "I would think that would make us a perfectly appropriate candidate to get off the no fly zone in Maine, but for whatever reason it's not going to happen."