Illinois coronavirus: Chicago lifts travel restrictions as infections fall
Travelers to Chicago no longer need to quarantine when they arrive in the city, and they won’t need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test either, officials said Tuesday.
That’s because for the first time since the pandemic hit, no U.S. states or territories are considered coronavirus hot spots by the Chicago Department of Public Health as infection rates keep plummeting across the nation.
The city’s emergency travel order, which has been in place since July, flags states with a COVID-19 case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 residents per day.
Only four states are recording more than 10 cases per 100,000 residents per day. Indiana and Michigan are close to 8, while Illinois is at 7.3 and Wisconsin is at 4.3.
“That’s because COVID is getting better, not just here in Chicago, but really around the country,” Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during an online Q&A. “This has been predominantly, of course, the result of the vaccine.”
The city’s travel order remains in place and restrictions could be re-instated if other states see resurgences.
“This is good news, but by no means does it signal that we can drop our defenses against COVID-19,” Arwady said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends people avoid travel until they are two weeks removed from their final vaccine dose.
Chicago’s travel order has been purely educational — the city has not handed out any fines to people for violating the guidelines.
During the worst days of the pandemic, most of the country was considered a hot spot — and more often than not, Illinois itself met the city’s criteria for self-isolation.
New COVID-19 cases by day
Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun-Times
Source: Illinois Department of Public Health
Chicago has logged about 157 new COVID-19 cases each day over the past week while the city’s positivity rate is down to 2.2%. Both figures are the lowest seen since COVID-19 arrived.
Most metrics are at all-time lows statewide, too. Illinois reported its lowest one-day case total in almost a year on Monday, while the positivity rate sits at 1.6%.
About 41% of all Illinois residents are fully vaccinated, including more than half of adults.
To sign up for a vaccine appointment in Chicago, visit zocdoc.com or call (312) 746-4835. The city is offering in-home vaccinations to any resident 65 or older, as well as those with disabilities or underlying health conditions.
For suburban Cook County sites, visit vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or call (833) 308-1988.
To find providers elsewhere, visit coronavirus.illinois.gov or call (833) 621-1284.