California, Puerto Rico Removed from Chicago’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

Chicago officials removed California and Puerto Rico from the city’s COVID-19 travel advisory on Tuesday as the number of coronavirus cases remained high across the nation.

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Officials returned Connecticut and Washington, D.C., to the travel advisory, one week after the state and territory were removed from the advisory.

The advisory now covers 48 states as well as Washington, D.C., Guam and the Virgin Islands, announced Dr. Allison Arwady, the head of the Chicago Department of Public Health. 

Unvaccinated visitors to Chicago from those states are urged to quarantine for 10 days or record a negative test for the coronavirus within 72 hours of their arrival, officials said.

In addition, unvaccinated travelers should get tested three to five days before they leave on their trip as well as three to five days after they return, according to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even if they test negative for COVID-19, individuals should self-quarantine for seven days. Those who don’t take a test should quarantine for 10 days after travel, according to the new guidance.

Unvaccinated travelers should avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, even with a negative test, according to the new guidance.

The city’s travel order, first implemented in July 2020, did not include any states as of June 1 as vaccination efforts tamped down cases and spurred reopenings across the United States. On June 29, officials announced the order would become an advisory as COVID-19 cases remained low across the nation.

However, progress in stopping the spread of COVID-19 has been reversed with the emergence of the more transmissible delta variant, officials said.

California is the only state and Puerto Rico the only territory where the confirmed number of new COVID-19 cases is less than 15 per day per 100,000 residents, the standard for states and territories to be added to the travel advisory, Chicago officials said.

Chicago is averaging 15.3 new cases per day per 100,000 residents. Illinois is averaging 22.4 cases per day, according to data from the Chicago Department of Public Health.

West Virginia, Guam and Alaska have the highest daily COVID-19 case rates in the nation, officials said. The national case rate is 35.8, officials said.

An average of 414 Chicagoans have been diagnosed each day with the coronavirus during the past week, an 8% decrease from the previous week, according to Chicago Department of Public Health data.

Ten business were cited between Thursday and Sunday for flouting the city’s indoor mask mandate, city officials said. 

The city’s test positivity rate is 3%, down from 3.6% a week ago.

Daily hospitalizations have fallen by 50% in the past seven days, and 62.3% of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to city data. 

No one was cited for violating the travel order, which could have triggered fines of $100 to $500 per day for a maximum fine of $7,000, according to the mayor’s office. 

City officials said the advisory is designed to be part of a COVID-19 education campaign.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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