Chicago COVID travel quarantine order reformatted to 2-tier system

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago announced changes to the city's COVID-19 travel order Tuesday, switching from a three-tier system to a two-tier system.

The previous travel order places states in three categories: red, orange and yellow. The new travel order, which will take effect on Friday, eliminates one of the tiers so there will now only be an orange tier and a yellow tier.

Travelers from states in the orange tier must either quarantine for 10 days or test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arrival. Travelers from yellow states do not need to quarantine or test before arrival.

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CDPH Director Dr. Allison Arwady announces changes to Chicago;s COVID-19 travel quarantine order.



A state in the yellow tier has less than 15 daily cases per 100,000 people. States in the orange tier have more than 15 cases per 100,000 people.

"What this means is that except for the state of Hawaii, which is the only state in the U.S. that arguably is in excellent control of COVID, every other state, we are advising avoiding travel," said Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner.

Dr. Arwady pointed out promising data showing several weeks of mostly stable or declining new daily Chicago COVID-19 cases. The city is currently at a 10.3% positivity rate.

"We are currently averaging just over 1,000 new cases in Chicago residents per day, well down from the 2,400 new cases per day that we were averaging in November but well above the 400 new cases per day we saw last summer, which is where we'd like to be," she said.

The city's top doctor is cautiously optimistic about the decline in hospitalizations and hospital bed capacity in the city.

"We're feeling good about the way things are looking right now related to more serious outcome. We're heading in the right direction, but still not where we'd like to be," Arwady said.

In terms of vaccinations, the city reports more than 54,000 first doses and 13,000 to 14,000 second doses have already been administered in its first tier roll out. The city plans to add two more mass vaccination sites in addition to building partnerships with medical groups like Oak Street Health to focus on some of the hardest hit neighborhoods.

"What I can tell you from just even two days of doing this work is that we are nowhere close to being done with vaccinating 1A in just 48 hours," said Dr. Ali Khan, executive medical director of Oak Street Health.

"Here in Chicago I'm confident with the way our vaccine rollout has gone to date, and I'm excited by the possibility of being able to expand soon.," Arwady said.
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