After a delay due to the long holiday weekend, the Chicago travel advisory remained unchanged this week.
The advisory, updated weekly, continues to sit in 47 states and three territories.
The advisory was due to be updated Tuesday afternoon, but city health officials said a delay in data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to the long holiday weekend delayed the city update.
“Our weekly COVID travel advisory is being delayed this week because updated COVID CDC data was not available late Monday due to the federal holiday,” the department posted on social media. “Once the most recent data becomes available, the Travel Advisory will be updated later today (October 12) or Wednesday (October 13).”
Connecticut, California and Puerto Rico remain the only places not listed on the city’s notice. Officials noted last week, however, that the District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Louisiana were on the verge of being dropped from the list.
States are added to the notice’s “amber list” when COVID metrics exceed the threshold of 15 cases per day per 100,000 people. Anyone 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 vaccinated – especially if you are not vaccinated – please do not take COVID lightly,” said Dr Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, in a statement. “We still have a long way to go before we can all travel confidently and safely across the country. COVID is a threat to everyone – but the threat is greatly reduced if you are vaccinated. ”
States and territories currently subject to the notice include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, 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 Carolina, Dakota South, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands.
Just before Labor Day, the city updated its guidelines on what unvaccinated travelers visiting or returning from these places should do, adding new testing and quarantine recommendations before and after travel.
Depending on the city, before traveling, unvaccinated people should:
- Get tested 3 to 5 days before departure.
- ALL individuals, regardless of immunization status, should wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other public transportation to, within or outside the United States and within the United States. American transportation hubs such as airports and train stations.
- In Chicago, wear a mask in all indoor public places, regardless of immunization status.
- Avoid crowds, try to stay at least 6 feet / 2 meters (about 2 arm’s lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you, and wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60 % alcohol).
After travel, unvaccinated people should:
- Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and quarantine yourself for a full 7 days.
- Even if your test is negative, stay home and quarantine yourself for 7 days.
- If your test is positive, self-isolate to protect others from infection.
- If you don’t get tested, stay home and quarantine yourself for 10 days after travel.
- Avoid being around people at increased risk for serious illness for 14 days, whether or not you are tested.
The city has advised all travelers to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and to self-isolate and get tested if they develop 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 quarantine yourself for 10 days after travel, and you should avoid being around anyone who is at increased risk of serious consequences. COVID for 14 days after travel whether or not you are. get tested or not. Obviously, we want anyone traveling to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID and get tested if you do develop symptoms. “
This week’s travel advisory update comes at a time when the average daily number of new cases in Chicago fell to 317 per day, a 12% drop from the previous week.
That figure is still much higher than the low of 34 the city experienced in late June, but still lower than the more than 700 cases per day the city saw in the last increase at the start of the year.
Hospitalizations in Chicago are down 56% from the previous week and deaths are down 11% from the previous week, according to city data. The test positivity rate fell to 2% this week, from 2.2% last week.
Arwady noted last month that about 99% of new COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people.
The Travel Advisory is updated every Tuesday, with any changes taking effect the following Friday.