Cook County

Cook County Issues Emergency Travel Guidance With Quarantine Requirement

The quarantine requirement for the two additional states begins Friday

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The Cook County Department of Public Health on Friday issued emergency travel guidance directing travelers from certain states to quarantine for 14 days.

The guidance mirrors Chicago's travel order, which also requires anyone visiting or returning to the city from one of 17 states to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Cook County, which includes several suburbs surrounding Chicago, will follow the same list of states as the one that took effect in the city Friday.

• Alabama
• Arkansas
• Arizona
• California
• Florida
• Georgia
• Idaho
• Louisiana
• Mississippi
• North Carolina
• Nevada
• South Carolina
• Tennessee
• Texas
• Utah
• Iowa
• Oklahoma

“We have come a long way in Cook County and Illinois and we want to keep it that way,” Cook County Department of Public Health Co-Lead and Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Rachel Rubin, said in a statement. “It is summer and we know people want to travel, but we have to remain vigilant to keep our gains and avoid having to close places we’ve only just reopened.”

Chicago first issued an emergency travel order for 15 states just before the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The order took effect on July 6.

States included in the order at that time were: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. It was updated this week to include Oklahoma and Iowa.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said travelers entering or returning to Chicago from "states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases" will need to quarantine "for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state."

The order is set to remain in effect until further notice and the list of states is slated to be evaluated every Tuesday.

As of Thursday, there were 156,693 coronavirus cases in Illinois, 40,805 of them in suburban Cook County. Another 55,857 were reported in Chicago.

“Our positivity rates are quite low, but that can change, as we have seen in neighboring states,” Cook County Department of Public Health Co-Lead and Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Kiran Joshi, said in a statement. “Prevention is the best medicine. We ask everyone to avoid travel to the most affected areas. If you must travel, quarantine for 14 days to protect others and help us stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The DuPage County Health Department is also encouraging anyone who travels out of Illinois to quarantine to 14 days, but it stopped short of issuing an emergency order like the one that began in Chicago.

The health department warned that such "recommendations are critical in assuring that our community members continue to reduce the risk of spreading."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19."

The move comes as states across the U.S. see surges of coronavirus cases, many shutting down bars and restaurants in an effort to quell or prevent a spike.

New cases have surged in several states across the nation, setting new records almost daily, driven mostly by expanding outbreaks in the American South and West.

New York and New Jersey are also asking visitors from several states from the Carolinas to California to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

It remains unclear if the rest of Illinois will follow suit.

"Our two major international airports are in the city of Chicago," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday. "We don't have a lot of international travel in the other parts of the state."

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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