Three additional sites have been removed from Chicago’s travel advisory this week, while two others have returned, leaving the list of places on the city’s warning list in 41 states and one region.
South Carolina, Texas and the Virgin Islands exited the city’s “orange category” in the advisory, while California and Mississippi reached their minimum to be added again.
This means that the only states and territories not included in the travel advisory are Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and the Virgin Islands.
The city said Arkansas, which has a daily case rate of 14.1, is the only state eligible to rescind the travel warning next week.
“The movement of some states in and out of COVID travel advisories over the past two weeks, and fluctuations in daily COVID case rates show that this is not a time for complacency,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Alison Arwady. Permit. “Travelers, in particular, should be aware of this, and continue to take precautions against COVID, namely vaccinate and keep your masks on when you are near other people.”
Countries are added to the advisory’s “orange list” when COVID metrics rise above the threshold of 15 cases per day per 100,000 people. Anything below that mark is on the “yellow” list, with public health officials still warning against non-essential travel.
“If you are traveling, whether you are vaccinated or not — especially if you haven’t — please don’t take COVID lightly,” Arwady said. “We still have a long way to go before we can all travel confidently safely across the country. Coronavirus is a threat to everyone – but the threat drops dramatically if you are vaccinated.”
States and territories currently under counsel include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Guam.
Just before Labor Day, the city updated its guidance on what unvaccinated travelers visiting or returning from these locations should do, adding new recommendations for pre- and post-travel testing and quarantine.
According to the city, prior to travel, unvaccinated individuals must:
- Get the test 3-5 days before you leave.
- All individuals regardless of vaccination status should wear masks on planes, buses, trains and other public transportation traveling to, within or outside the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
- In Chicago, wear a mask in all indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status.
- Avoid crowds, try to stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arms) from anyone not traveling with you, and wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
After travel, unvaccinated individuals should:
- Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel And Stay at home and self-quarantine for 7 full days.
- Even if the test result is negative, stay home and self-isolate for the full 7 days.
- If you test positive, isolate yourself to protect others from infection.
- If you are not tested, stay home and self-isolate for 10 days after travelling.
- Avoid being around people at increased risk of serious illness for 14 days, whether or not you have had the test.
The city advised all travelers to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and isolate and get tested if they contract any after travel.
“We have seen and know that travel is a significant risk factor for acquiring COVID,” Arwady said. “If you decide not to get tested, the recommendation is actually to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel, and you should avoid being with anyone who has an increased risk of severe COVID outcomes for 14 days after travel regardless of whether they are being tested or not. No. Obviously, we want anyone traveling to self-monitor for COVID symptoms and get tested if you develop symptoms.”
This week’s update to travel advisories comes at a time when the average daily number of new cases in Chicago rose slightly to 312 per day — an 8% increase from 289 the previous week.
That number is still well above the city’s low of 34 cases in late June, but still less than the more than 700 daily cases the city had during the most recent increase earlier this year.
The number of hospitalizations in Chicago is down 29% from the previous week and deaths have leveled off from the previous week, according to city data. The test positivity rate rose to 1.7% this week, up from 1.6% the previous week.
Arwady noted last month that about 99% of the new COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated individuals.
The travel advisory is updated every Tuesday, with any changes taking effect the following Friday.