The Chicago Department of Public Health is encouraging residents who visit parts of the country considered medium or high COVID-19 risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take precautions against the disease, according to the latest guidance.
CDPH issued recommendations following the most recent change to the CDC's county-by-county community levels map, which lists 8.3% of counties in the U.S. and Puerto Risk as medium or high risk for COVID.
Many states still have low COVID levels, but nearly all U.S. communities with high risk levels are in an area that stretches from western New York up to northern Maine, according to health officials.
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.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
In medium risk areas, people should "consider wearing a mask in indoor public spaces," health officials have said. While in communities deemed high risk, people are advised to wear a mask in such settings.
As of Friday, 40 U.S. counties experienced high risk community levels, a drastic change from 14 last week. Overall levels have declined in the past several days, with 228 counties listed as medium risk this week compared to 175 last week.
The number of counties designated as medium or high risk has increased in recent days, but 91% of the U.S. still remains at low risk.
While no counties in the Midwest have high community levels, areas of medium risk have been identified near Champaign as well as Ann Arbor, Michigan and Madison, Wisconsin.
Out of Illinois' 102 counties, only the four following counties are listed in the medium category: DuPage, Champaign, McLean and Piatt counties. Last week, only Champaign County was classified as being medium risk.