Chicago Coronavirus

How COVID-19 Most Commonly Spreads in Chicago: Arwady

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The city's coronavirus surge can likely be attributed to both traveling and gathering in large groups, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady warned Tuesday.

Arwady said Chicago officials continue to hear that people traveling from outside Illinois to places such as Wisconsin, Texas, Puerto Rico and Mexico are most commonly bringing back the coronavirus.

Chicago officials have also received reports of family and informal gatherings being a "major source of spread," according to Arwady. She added that out-of-state weddings, birthday parties and funerals have all contributed to Chicago's coronavirus spread.

"We hear about people playing basketball together in the pool or soccer together in the park. We hear about spread between boyfriends and girlfriends. We hear about family barbecues in the backyard. We hear about people sharing e-cigarettes or sharing drinks and teenagers just hanging out with their friends," Arwady said.

She explained that though these may not seem like major events, officials overwhelmingly contribute them to the recent spread of COVID-19.

Even after receiving a coronavirus test, Arwady said many people are not quarantining while waiting for results to return.

"So, if you've gotten a test, even if you think you've had a mild cold or you're just overworked, you must stay home and you must try to limit contact even within the household," Arwady said. "That could mean wearing masks at home, while you're waiting for some of those test results, especially if you've got someone who's older or is more vulnerable."

Ultimately, Arwady advised Chicago to avoid unnecessary gatherings of any kind and to limit travel if possible during this time, while updating the city's travel order.

Illinois should be on Chicago's travel order, but the city won't be requiring a quarantine within the state, public health officials said.

"Chicago has decided not to institute restrictions on Illinois," Arwady said Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, Chicago was seeing an average daily case rate of 12.6 cases per 100,000 residents, Arwady said. Illinois, meanwhile, was at 15.9.

While she noted the city considered county-by-county restrictions, "realistically we didn't feel it made sense to enforce any quarantine restriction in Illinois."

"We are not imposing any travel restrictions, but we want to highlight people who are traveling through Illinois to pay special attention to wearing masks," she said. "If there is not need to travel, the recommendation would be not to travel."

The city's travel order was updated Tuesday, removing Arizona and North Carolina from its quarantine list and adding South Dakota.

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