16 states removed from Chicago travel advisories ahead of busy spring break – NBC Chicago

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Sixteen states were removed from Chicago’s travel advisory on Tuesday, reducing the city’s warning list to 18 states and one territory as spring break begins.

The city’s health department announced that Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming had all fallen below the threshold to be on the to be on the travel warning list.

Another eight states could be dropped next week if they stay below the threshold.

States will be added to the advisor’s “orange list” if COVID metrics exceed the threshold of 15 cases per day per 100,000 people. All under this brand are on the ‘yellow’ list, with health officials still warning against non-essential travel.

The latest change comes amid falling COVID metrics following the Omicron surge this year and a day after the city and Illinois lifted mask and vaccine mandates.

“It’s great that with the steadily declining daily number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, people are more comfortable and confident about making spring and summer travel plans,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Health. “But more than half the country is still under our travel advisory and for unvaccinated travelers this means they should continue to adhere to quarantine and testing guidelines.”

Just ahead of the Labor Day holiday last year, the city updated its guidance on what unvaccinated travelers visiting or returning from places where the guide is listed should do, and added new recommendations for pre- and post-testing and quarantine added to the trip.

The city noted that “given the delay in approving vaccinations for children under the age of 5,” children aged 5 and under are exempt from counseling, but only if the adults they are traveling with are vaccinated.

International travelers are subject to US Centers for Disease Control guidelines, which require all travelers, regardless of immunization status or citizenship, receive a negative COVID-19 virus test at least one day before traveling to the United States.

According to Chicago guidelines, unvaccinated individuals should do the following before traveling:

  • Get tested 3-5 days before departure.

Traveling:

  • ALL people, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask on airplanes, buses, trains, and other public transportation traveling to, within, or from the United States, and indoors at US transportation hubs such as airports and train stations.
  • Wear a mask in all indoor public spaces in Chicago, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Avoid crowds, try to stay at least 2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) away from anyone not traveling with you, and wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).

After travel, unvaccinated individuals should:

  • Get tested with a virus test 3-5 days after the trip AND Stay home and quarantine for a full 7 days.
  • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
  • If you test positive, isolate yourself to protect others from contagion.
  • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after your trip.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk of serious illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

The city advised all travelers to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and to isolate and get tested if they develop any post-travel.

This week’s travel advisory update comes at a time when the average daily number of new cases in Chicago has fallen to 132, a marked difference from the 5,189 earlier this year.

However, that number is still higher than the low of 34 the city recorded in late June last year.

Hospitalizations are averaging 9.43 per day and deaths are down to 1.57 per day, both a significant drop from Omicron’s peak earlier this year.

The testing positivity rate fell to 0.7%, a dramatic drop from the 21% seen during the surge.

The travel advice is updated every Tuesday, changes take effect on the following Friday.

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