Though Illinois officials have asked people to minimize travel during the coronavirus, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike gave guidelines Monday for those who must leave the state.
Ezike explained that there is a proper way to travel amid the national pandemic, especially as some border states continue to have higher positivity rates than Illinois.
"We do know that this virus does not recognize borders in specific regions, and it doesn't stop at the edge of a region or a county," Ezike said. "That's why we are trying to help citizens and residents of Illinois make the best decisions they can."
According to the IDPH director, travelers should be evaluating their entire trip to catch situations where they are more likely to contract COVID-19.
For example, Ezike said to keep in mind the security process if flying through an airport and rest stops while picking up food on the road.
In order to look at the final destination, IDPH released a new map for residents highlighting which U.S. states are at the highest risk for travelers.
The map aims to "help inform residents of potential risks associated with traveling during the pandemic." The states and countries listed as "higher risk" are based on case rates, according to IDPH.
Locations with an average daily case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 residents are marked as an increased risk. As of Monday, U.S. states included Idaho, Nevada, North Dakota, California, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.
"So if you are opportune to be taking a vacation, or you're able to get a couple of days away and you have some choice in the matter, please take a look at this map," Ezike said. "It's some simple guidance."
Ezike added that some travelers may be going to another state for a family matter and, if so, to keep the "three W's" in mind: wash your hands frequently, watch your distance between others and wear your face covering.
"In these times, it's important to know all that we can do," Ezike said. "It seems simple, but it really can work. We want to help each other avoid becoming infected."
The guidelines come as state officials also announce new restrictions for an Illinois region seeing increased coronavirus numbers.
Health officials in Illinois confirmed 1,773 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, along with 12 additional deaths related to the virus.
According to new data from the Illinois Department of Health, the state’s total number of coronavirus cases during the pandemic has now risen to 207,854.
Monday's 12 additional deaths bring the state’s death toll from the virus to 7,756 total fatalities.
According to officials, a total of 38,246 new tests were performed over the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to 3,405,097.
Monday's new test results bring the state’s 7-day rolling positivity rate up by one-tenth of a percent, from 4.1% to 4.2%, according to newly available data.