Chicago Department of Public Health Removes Seven States From its Travel Advisory, Announces Adjustment to Advisory to Align with the CDC

March 22, 2022

Beginning Friday, Advisory will be based off new CDC Community Levels

COVID-19 Joint Information Center    media.coronavirus@cityofchicago.org

CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today removed seven states from its weekly COVID-19 Travel Advisory – Alabama, California, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon – and announced that it is updating the Advisory to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Community Levels. Beginning Friday, March 25, the Advisory will be adjusted to follow the new CDC guidance, which designates counties nationwide as high, medium, or low risk. Currently, the entire state of Illinois is considered low risk.

“Chicago’s Travel Advisory was always meant to be used by Chicagoans as a tool to help make informed decisions about travel based on their individual and local COVID-19 risk,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “As we enter this new phase of the pandemic, it’s important for us to remember that all risk is local – and by aligning with the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels, we’re able to better recommend the prevention steps that align with the specific risk.”

The CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels are a new tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at COVID-19 hospital beds being used by COVID-19 patients, new COVID-19 hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.

Moving forward, Chicago’s Travel Advisory will be updated every Friday to align with the release of the updated CDC COVID-19 Community Level data. The CDC’s website allows users to search for counties to identify the current risk level.

ALL travelers should check the map so you know whether the areas you are traveling to are low, medium, or high risk for COVID-19.

  • If areas are low risk (green), no additional action must be taken. Continue to follow standard guidance related to travel.
  • If the areas are medium risk (yellow), consider wearing a mask in indoor public places.
  • If the areas are high risk (orange):
    • Wear a mask in indoor public places.
    • Travelers who are age 5 or older who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines are advised to avoid travel to high-risk (orange) counties.
    • Unvaccinated Chicagoans age 5 or older who travel to high-risk (orange) counties, upon returning to Chicago are advised to follow CDC guidance:
      • Stay home and quarantine for 5 days after travel
      • Take a COVID test 3-5 days after return – if it is positive, stay home and follow CDC guidance.
  • ALL travelers are also advised to:
    • Ensure you are up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines (including boosters) before any planned travel.
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • Consider packing an at-home COVID test in case you develop symptoms while traveling.
    • Bring a mask with you. Remember that masks are required at airports, on airplanes, and on all public transportation at this time. Businesses may also still choose to require masks.

Given that children under 5 are not yet eligible for vaccination, at this time they are exempted from the City’s Travel Advisory, as long as the adults they are traveling with are vaccinated. Under the updated Advisory, CDPH continues to follow CDC guidance for all travel – including international travel.

Getting vaccinated continues to be the best protection of severe outcomes from COVID-19 – including hospitalization or death. The COVID-19 vaccine is widely available at pharmacies and health care providers across the City. CDPH will bring the vaccine to Chicago residents at their homes, free of charge, through Protect Chicago At Home. Up to 10 people at a residence (age 5 and up) can be vaccinated. Make an appointment at Chicago.gov/AtHome or by calling 312-746-4835. CDPH also holds regular vaccination events across the city, find the full list at Chicago.gov/VaxCalendar.

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