Chicago's top doctor recommends families with unvaccinated children do not travel over Labor Day weekend
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that all states except for Vermont is on its travel advisory.
The full list of states and territories on the advisory is: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
The U.S. average daily case rate per 100,000 residents is 39, up from 37.5 a week ago. For parents with Labor Day weekend travel plans, now may be the time to rethink them, Chicago Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.
"I would not recommend traveling right now if you've got unvaccinated children," Arwady said. "Particularly if you have younger children. The whole country is doing really badly from a COVID perspective right now."
The advice comes as the entire country, except for Vermont, is now under a travel advisory. It also comes as the CDC has issued new guidance, recommending that unvaccinated travelers test 1-3 days before travel, test again 3-5 days after travel, and then quarantine for 7 days, whether or not they test negative.
The last piece of advice has implications for children who are back at school.
"I know that's hard for people, but we're just trying to avoid infection, especially when we're back in school," Arwady said. "The bar is a little higher in terms of trying to limit that risk as much as possible, but it will be up to individual schools and school systems to decide how to use that new guidance."
Chicago does, for now, remain in better shape than much of the county as the number of cases from last week to this week is flattening, likely as a result of the recently re-imposed indoor mask mandate. There are, however, concerns of a spike as we go into the fall and people return to spending more time indoors.
"The main thing is getting vaccinated, especially someone who is older, because there is the potential for it to get a lot worse as we've seen in much of the country," Arwady said.
Chicago Public Schools did issue guidance on travel at the beginning of the year that largely mirrors the Chicago Department of Public Health. CPS officials pointed out that unvaccinated students who quarantine as a result of travel do not qualify for remote learning.