Florida, Hawaii, Washington, D.C. Removed from Chicago’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

Chicago officials removed Florida, Hawaii and Washington, D.C. 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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The advisory now covers 45 states as well as Guam and the Virgin Islands, announced Dr. Allison Arwady, the head of the Chicago Department of Public Health. California, Connecticut and Puerto Rico are the other states and territories not covered by the advisory.

Unvaccinated visitors to Chicago from those 45 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 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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

States and territories that average more than 15 cases of COVID-19 per day per 100,000 residents are added to the travel advisory, Chicago officials said.

Chicago is averaging 10.7 new cases per day per 100,000 residents. Illinois is averaging 13.2 cases per day, according to data from the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, Montana and Guam have the highest daily COVID-19 case rates in the nation, officials said. The national case rate is 20.4, officials said.

City officials are concerned that several Midwestern states, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan, are among the 15 states with the highest daily rates of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. 

“The fact that some of our fellow Midwest states have had their case rates rise steeply shows how fragile our advances can be,” said Arwady. “We must continue to be vigilant with vaccinations and mask wearing if we’re going to keep COVID down as the temperatures come down.”

An average of 291 Chicagoans have been diagnosed each day with the coronavirus during the past week, a 13% decrease from the previous week, according to Chicago Department of Public Health data.

Eight 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 2%, unchanged from a week ago.

Daily hospitalizations have fallen by 39% in the past seven days, and 64% 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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