CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- If you have upcoming travel plans, you may want to reconsider.
On Wednesday, the Chicago Department of Public Health added the only state and only territory that were not on its COVID-19 Travel Advisory last week – Montana and Guam – to the advisory. The move effectively expands the list to include all 49 outside states and all four U.S. territories.
States are added to the Travel Advisory's "orange list" when COVID metrics rise above the threshold of 15 cases per day per 100,000 people. Any below that mark are on the "yellow" list, with public health officials still warning against non-essential travel. Daily COVID case rates must be below 15 per 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks for a state to be removed from the advisory.
The U.S. average daily case rate per 100,000 residents is 148.1 (62.2 last week). Illinois’ daily case rate currently is 182.1 (87.1 last week). Chicago’s daily case rate is 169.7 (140.3 last week).
“COVID is very real, it’s merciless, and unless you are fully vaccinated, your defenses against it are pretty low,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., in a statement. “You can only fully fight this virus if you’re vaccinated. The evidence is overwhelming – if you are fully vaccinated and you do get COVID-19, there’s very little chance you will get so ill that you require hospitalization. Your chances aren’t nearly as good if you remain unvaccinated. Unvaccinated and vaccinated travelers alike should consider if their travel plans are necessary at this time.”
Under the Travel Advisory, unvaccinated travelers should be tested for COVID before and after travel from any state on the advisory list and should quarantine upon arrival in Chicago. For domestic travel, the quarantine and testing recommendations do not apply to fully vaccinated travelers.
For international travel, the CDC now requires that all travelers, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship, get a negative COVID-19 viral test no more than one day before travel into the United States. CDPH guidelines follow CDC requirements for international travel.
The Chicago Department of Public Health said its Travel Advisory guidance is aligned with the CDC's traveler recommendations. You can review the Advisory recommendations below. Parents and guardians should check with their local school for specific policies.
Before travel, unvaccinated individuals should:
• Get tested 1-3 days prior to departure.
For international travel:
• ALL TRAVELERS, REGARDLESS OF VACCINATION STATUS OR CITIZENSHIP need to get a negative COVID-19 viral test no more than 1 day before travel into the United States.
• ALL individuals regardless of vaccination status must wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of 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 settings, regardless of vaccination status.
• Avoid crowds as much as you can and wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
After travel, unvaccinated individuals should:
• Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days.
• Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
• If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
• If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel. Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
• All travelers are advised to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms after travel and isolate and get tested if they develop symptoms.
CDPH holds regular vaccination events across the city and vaccine is also widely available through pharmacies and health care providers. In-home vaccination is also available free of charge to all Chicago residents through Protect Chicago At Home. Up to 10 people at a residence (age 5 and up) can receive the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Call (312) 746-4835 for an appointment or go to Chicago.gov/AtHome for details. People who are vaccinated through the At Home program or a CDPH mobile event will receive $100 in Visa gift cards. The gift cards do not apply to booster shots.
Chicago’s Travel Advisory will continue to be updated every week. CDPH continues to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 in other regions across the country. For more information, visit chicago.gov/coronavirus.