Amid COVID-19 surges, Chicago to implement travel restrictions


Daily file illustration by Catherine Buchaniec

Evanston implemented a stay-at-home advisory beginning on Monday morning.

Delaney Nelson, Assistant City Editor

Amid increasing COVID-19 transmission rates across the country, the city of Chicago will implement a modified emergency travel order starting Friday, Nov. 13, requiring individuals arriving from 43 states and the territory of Puerto Rico to quarantine upon arrival.

The modified order places states into red, orange and yellow categories depending on their COVID-19 infection numbers. The city has labeled 12 states, including Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa, as red, whose case numbers exceed Chicago’s seven-day rolling average of positive cases per day per 100,000 Chicago residents. Travellers arriving from these areas are required to quarantine for 14 days. Chicago’s rolling seven-day average is 60 cases per day per 100,000 residents.

31 states and the territory of Puerto Rico fall under the orange category, which mandates travellers partake in a 14-day quarantine or a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, with “strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings,” according to the city’s website. No quarantine or pre-arrival test is required for states labeled yellow.

“First and foremost, I would like people to avoid travel at this time if at all possible. But by creating a tiered system and using Chicago’s case rate as a category threshold, it allows us to be responsive to the changing dynamics of the pandemic,” said Allison Arwady, M.D., Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner in a news release. “This measure is a response to increased rates of COVID-19 transmission in Chicago and across the nation, and it sets up measures to mitigate transmission in our city.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 12,623 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with a preliminary statewide seven-day positivity rate of 13.1 percent. The state has labeled all surrounding states as “higher risk,” and encourages caution when travelling.

As of Tuesday, there were 29 new COVID-19 cases in Evanston for a total of 198 active cases. Evanston’s current positivity rate is 3.1 percent. On Nov. 7, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 10 days of positivity increases and nine days of hospital admission increases in suburban Cook County.

Travel for medical care, parental shared custody and essential workers are exempt from Chicago’s travel order. The order does not apply to anyone passing through a designated high-risk state for less than 24 hours.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @delaneygnelson

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