Chicago Warns Indiana Likely to Be Added to Coronavirus Travel Order Requiring Quarantine

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Chicago health officials on Tuesday warned that Indiana has surpassed the threshold to be added to the city's emergency travel order requiring a 14-day quarantine and will likely be included next week.

States are added to the list if they have "a case rate greater than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 resident population, per day, over a 7-day rolling average." Under the order, travelers entering or returning to Chicago from states on the list need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, officials say.

Indiana is seeing a daily case average of more than 15 cases per 100,000 people per day, the city said Tuesday, but was not added yet to "allow residents enough time to plan travel to this border state."

The state is now reporting an average of 16.2 new cases every day per 100,000 citizens, and NBC 5 Investigates analysis shows. In the northwest region, that figure is now 16.4 per 100,000 people.

If Indiana does not bring down its daily case average in the next week, Chicago health officials said it will be included in the next update.

NBC 5's Trina Orlando has the latest details after Chicago's top health official warned residents to be careful when traveling to neighboring Indiana.

"Chicago residents are strongly advised to not travel to Indiana," the city said.

Both the region of northwest Indiana and the state as a whole reported record-breaking average caseloads Monday as positivity rates continued to rise sharply.

The state is averaging more than 1,100 cases daily, which is 65% higher than the level Indiana reached when the virus saw its first peak in early May, an NBC 5 Investigates analysis found.

Northwest Indiana, which encompasses Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties and is directly east of Chicago, was reporting an average of 136 new daily cases as of Monday. That figure is one-and-a-half times higher than what the five-county area was seeing when the pandemic reached its first peak in April and May.

Both Northwest Indiana and the state have recorded a record-high number of weekly cases: 6,417 statewide and 949 in the northwest region respectively, according to the analysis.

On top of that, positivity rates for both the state overall and the region have also risen sharply.

The statewide rate, which was 7.5% on Friday, jumped a full percentage point to 8.5% as of Monday. And the rate for the northwest region, which was 7.4% on Friday, jumped to 8.6%.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady talks about the main goal of the city’s travel order.

Chicago on Tuesday added Alaska to its quarantine travel order and removed Georgia and Texas.

The travel order now covers 22 states and territories: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Chicago's travel order, which began on July 6, is evaluated every Tuesday, with any additions taking effect the following Friday.

Last week, Chicago health officials added four states to the list: Kentucky, Wyoming, Texas, and Nevada. Wisconsin was one of several locations added to the order two weeks ago, along with Montana, Idaho, Minnesota and Puerto Rico.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said before adding Wisconsin that the state was "currently in very poor control when it comes to COVID," adding that the state had more than double the 15 average daily cases per 100,000 residents that is the threshold to be named on Chicago's travel order.

That number has continued to climb, as has the positivity rate, sitting at 17.3% as of Monday.

Wisconsin was one of several locations added Tuesday to Chicago’s emergency travel order requiring a 14-day quarantine. Chris Hush reports.

Under the Chicago travel order guidelines, those traveling to or from Wisconsin for work and those traveling through the state for travel will not need to quarantine, Arwady said. Those traveling to the state for leisure, however, even for less than 24 hours, will need to quarantine, she said.

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." Essential workers could be exempt from the quarantine requirement, however, as long as their employer certifies their work in writing.

The order is set to remain in effect until further notice.

New York and New Jersey are also asking visitors from several states, including Illinois, to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

Still, outside of Chicago, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state likely won't require residents who travel to and from neighboring states to quarantine for two weeks solely because of that travel.

But Illinois' Department of Public Health did release a "travel map" indicating which states are a "higher risk" for travelers.

The state's map uses the same criteria as Chicago's travel order for determining the states that are deemed to be an increased risk.

“Travel may increase the chance of becoming infected and spreading COVID-19,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “To help inform residents where they might be at greater risk of being exposed to COVID-19 when they travel, IDPH has launched a map that clearly shows states and other countries where case rates are elevated. While staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, we know that it may not be possible to avoid all travel. We encourage people who are traveling, whether for work or otherwise, to check out the map before making plans.”

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