The Chicago Department of Public Health is advising residents who travel to areas of the country deemed medium or high COVID-19 risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take precautions against the disease, according to a travel advisory update Friday.
CDPH issued recommendations following the latest update to the CDC's county-by-county community levels map, which lists 5.9% of counties in the U.S. and Puerto Risk as medium or high risk for COVID.
Most states still have low COVID-19 levels, according to health officials, but states such as Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York have medium to high COVID-19 risk levels, based on the CDC's COVID-19 community levels.
Those who are age 5 or older and aren't up to date with COVID vaccinations should avoid traveling to areas listed as high risk, according to the recommendations. Unvaccinated individuals who decide to travel should follow CDC guidance upon returning to Chicago, which includes quarantining for 5 days following travel and taking a COVID test 3 to 5 days after returning.
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In medium risk areas, people should "consider wearing a mask in indoor public spaces," according to health officials. While in communities deemed high risk, people are advised to wear a mask in such settings.
As of Friday, 14 U.S. counties have high risk community levels, an improvement from 19 counties last week. Overall levels have declined in the past several days, with 175 counties listed as medium risk this week compared to 123 last week.
A handful of counties in Michigan have medium community levels, while Illinois only has one county in the category. Champaign County, which is listed as a medium community level, is the only one of Illinois' 102 counties not in the low category.
Even though health officials have asserted cases are rising across Illinois, the COVID situation has improved overall.
Last week, Gallatin, Hardin, Pope and Saline counties were deemed to be in the high risk category, meaning masks are recommended. Those counties were all deemed low risk as of Friday.