No States on Chicago's Travel Order for Second Consecutive Update

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For the second consecutive time since Chicago's emergency travel order took effect in July, there are no states on the list requiring a quarantine or negative test for people coming to the city who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

All U.S. states and territories remain in the "yellow" tier of the travel order as of Tuesday, with fewer than 15 new cases per 100,000 residents per day, the Chicago Department of Public Health said.

Any states above that case rate would fall into the "orange" tier which requires a 10-day quarantine or negative test no earlier than 72 hours before arrival in Chicago for those who are not fully vaccinated.

"Two weeks ago, only four states -- Washington, Colorado, Wyoming, and West Virginia – were even above 10 cases per day. Colorado is the only state above 10 cases per day. The U.S. Virgin Islands is at 12.8 cases per day per 100,000 residents," CDPH said in a statement.

As of Tuesday, no states in the Midwest were above 4.8 cases per day per 100,000 residents, CDPH said, releasing the following data showing how each state's case rate has fallen in the past two weeks:

StateCases per 100,000 on 6/1/2021Cases per 100,000 on 6/15/2021

Chicago officials also noted that the city's daily case rate dropped "considerably," from 14.9 to 2.8, between May 7 through Tuesday.

"The City’s case rate has dropped as Chicagoans have worn masks, gotten vaccinated, maintained social distancing, washed their hands, and stayed home when necessary," CDPH said. "Until you are fully vaccinated, you are still at risk of contracting COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and effective. CDPH continues to reach Chicagoans throughout the City with vaccination busses, mobile events, and canvassing to get vaccinations to all Chicagoans."

While officials continue to discourage travel for unvaccinated residents, thresholds and the testing or quarantine requirements for each category of the order are as follows:

  • Yellow: States with a rolling 7-day average less than 15 cases/day/100k residents.
    • No quarantine or pre-arrival test required. Maintain strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings
  • Orange: States have a rolling 7-day average above 15 cases/day/100k residents 
    • 10-day quarantine OR negative test no earlier than 72 hours before arrival in Chicago with strict masking, social distancing and avoidance of in-person gatherings
    • Be fully vaccinated, as defined as two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after one dose of a single-dose vaccine and not have symptoms

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said last month that the order itself - updated every other Tuesday, with changes taking effect the following Friday - wasn't going away yet, but it could "soon."

"Obviously we're seeing progress being made across the country, but the primary purpose of the travel order is to equip members of the public with tools that they need," Lightfoot said at the time.

"We've already made a number of adjustments, both in terms of the states that are on versus off, but also making accommodations for people who are getting vaccinated... They don't have to go through the quarantine procedure that they previously had to without the vaccination, but I think that some form of the order is still necessary because it forms, I think it performs a very valuable function in educating the public."

CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said last month that while more residents continue to get vaccinated, the travel order remains in place.

"We look at it every week and as more and more people are vaccinated, it applies to fewer people," she said. "I think what we're going to see is increasingly there will be less need for these kinds of municipal travel orders because we may see airlines, for example, requiring vaccination status, or potentially a pre-testing requirement to travel. I think there's going to be more and more incentives for people to be vaccinated who want to travel and it will increasingly be safer to travel, but we are still, you know, we are clearly in, you know, another optic here in terms of COVID in the U.S. I wish I could say we were past it, but we're just not at this point. So at the moment really encouraging people getting vaccinated is the safest way to protect yourself and then you can do a lot of these other things like travel with much less worry much less need for the testing or the quarantine or any of those pieces."

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