Chicagoans should not travel to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family, Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday, warning that the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is getting worse in Chicago.
“Bottom line: you should not be traveling,” Arwady said, urging folks to cancel all plans to travel for Thanksgiving.
Chicago is under a stay-at-home advisory until Dec. 16.
“This year, I’ll be staying home,” said Arwady, who usually travels to Michigan to be with her extended family. “I’ll be having that celebration over FaceTime or Zoom. It’s not what I want to do, but it is the right thing to do for myself, for my family and for Chicago.”
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Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are continuing to double every 12 days, Arwady said.
The city’s coronavirus test positivity rate is 16%, up from 12.9% a week ago, as calculated by the Chicago Department of Public Health. That metric has tripled in the past 30 days, she added.
There are 2,296 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per day in Chicago, on average, up 31% in a week, according to city data.
Based on that data, one in 15 Chicagoans likely has an active COVID-19 infection, Arwady said.
Cases continue to rise among all age groups in Chicago, Arwady said.
The number of Chicagoans hospitalized with COVID-19 has tripled in the past month, as has the number of Chicagoans in intensive care after being diagnosed with COVID-19, Arwady said.
The number of Chicagoans on ventilators after being diagnosed with COVID-19 has quadrupled, Arwady said.
Hope is on the horizon as two vaccines have shown very promising early results, Arwady said.
Chicago officials have been preparing for months to distribute the vaccine. Health care workers will be the first in line for a vaccine, which could arrive before the end of the year, Arwady said. Then residents of long-term care homes will get the vaccines, officials said.
However, members of the public will likely have to wait for several months to get vaccinated, perhaps until March 2021, Arwady said.
Even after a vaccine is available, people should be prepared to keep wearing their masks, washing their hands and keeping their distance from those outside their households.
City health officials updated Chicago’s quarantine order on Tuesday to include 46 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Travelers from just three states — Maine, Hawaii and Vermont — are not required to quarantine for 14 days or record a negative test for COVID-19.
Travelers from North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Minnesota, Utah, Kansas and Indiana are required to quarantine for 14 days, because those states are recording more new COVID-19 cases per day, per 100,000 population, than Chicago, officials said.
Travelers from all other states will be required to quarantine for 14 days or test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arriving in Chicago, officials said. Those states have an average between 15 new cases per day, per 100,000 population, and Chicago’s rolling case average, officials said.
Violators of the quarantine order could face fines of $100 to $500 per day for a maximum fine of $7,000, according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office. However, city officials have said they’re relying on an education campaign, rather than an enforcement effort. No one has been cited for violating the order, which was first announced in July.
Travel by essential workers and students commuting to class is exempt from the order, according to the mayor’s office, as is travel to obtain medical care or exchange children subject to a shared custody order.