Visitors to Chicago from Puerto Rico, Alaska and North Dakota no longer have to quarantine for 10 days or record a negative test for COVID-19, according to the city’s travel order, updated on Tuesday.
The two states and the territory join Hawaii as the only areas with fewer than 15 new COVID-19 cases per day, per 100,000 population, officials said.
However, visitors from the other 46 states and Washington, D.C., must either quarantine for 10 days or record a negative test for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arrival, according to the order.
Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Tuesday that while both the city, state and nation were making “really good progress” in fighting the pandemic, non-essential travel should still be avoided.
“We are not out of the woods,” Arwady said.
Chicago is averaging more than 17 new cases per day based on a seven-day rolling average, Arwady said.
The city’s COVID-19 test positivity rate is 4.9%, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health. Seven days ago, it was 5.7%.
There is now an average of 493 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. That’s down 21% in a week, according to city data.
Nine people, on average, die every day in Chicago after being diagnosed with COVID-19, according to city data.
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are also dropping, Arwady said.
In addition, Chicago has recorded only one hospitalization for flu, Arwady said. February is typically when flu cases peak, and Arwady said she was pleased that efforts to encourage people to wear masks, wash their hands and maintain 6 feet of distance from those not in their households to avoid spreading COVID-19 also avoided illnesses from flu.
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.