Chicago is set to update its travel advisory Tuesday, one week after adding 12 more states to the list recommending that unvaccinated people entering the city from those areas test negative for COVID-19 or quarantine upon arrival.
The 12 new states added last week include: Idaho, North Carolina, Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Montana, Delaware, New York, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
The addition brought the total number of states on the advisory to 31, along with two territories, marking the first time since April that the advisory has had more states over the threshold than under, the Chicago Department of Public Health reported.
The list – updated weekly – now includes: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
“As COVID cases rise throughout the country, the relationship between COVID and the unvaccinated remains clear,” CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement earlier this month. “Overwhelmingly, the states with the highest COVID case rates also have some of the lowest vaccination rates. The most important thing you can do to help stop the spread of COVID is to get vaccinated.”
Increases in COVID metrics pushed those newly added states over the threshold of 15 cases per day per 100,000 people to get onto the “orange” list. Any below that mark are on the “yellow” list, with public health officials still warning against non-essential travel.
“Any unvaccinated people traveling from these states and territories are advised to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago or quarantine for a 10-day period upon arrival. Vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine or receive a negative test,” CDPH said.
CDPH said last month that data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows “COVID case rates have been steadily increasing in other areas of the country.”
This week’s update to the travel advisory comes at a time when the average daily number of new cases in Chicago is up to 419 per day – a 21 % increase over the previous week.
That figure is also more than 12 times the low of 34 that the city saw in late June but remains lower than the more than 700 cases per day the city was seeing during the most recent surge earlier this year.
Hospitalizations in Chicago are down 18% from last week while deaths are down 24%, per the city’s data. The positivity rate in testing is up to 4.3% this week, an increase from 3.8% last week, which was up each week since it was at 1% a month ago.
“We remain well below our peak rates, but these recent increases are concerning,” Arwady said last month. “But what we have said all along hasn’t changed – if you want to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community, get vaccinated.”
Arwady noted earlier this month that about 99% of new COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated individuals.
The travel advisory will be updated every Tuesday, with any changes taking effect the following Friday.