March 19, 2020

City of Chicago Orders Sick Residents to Remain Home to Prevent Further Spread of Covid-19

Executive Order requires residents with illness to take further precautions until they recover

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – At the direction of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady today signed a Public Health Order requiring all residents in the City of Chicago with confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) illness or who are exhibiting symptoms of the illness to stay home to help stem the further spread of the virus.  Under the Order, any resident of the City of Chicago diagnosed with COVID-19 or exhibiting symptoms, with few exceptions, may not leave their place of residence, go to work or any group settings. Sick residents will, however, be permitted to seek essential services, including necessary clinical care or evaluation, and life sustaining needs, such as obtaining medicine or food.

“During this unprecedented crisis, we must move quickly and in the best interest of the public. Restricting the movements of those who have COVID-19 or who are symptomatic is the best way to prevent the virus from spreading further,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “We are implementing today’s order to ensure a precise and data-driven response to the trends of this illness and, following recommendations by our City’s public health experts, believe that these heightened measures are necessary to contain the virus and protect our residents. We must be all in this together, and people who are sick must stay home to protect themselves and the public.”

These new rules will remain in effect until the Commissioner of CDPH makes a written determination that the threat to public health posed has diminished. Anyone who violates the Order could be subject to citations issued by the Chicago Police Department or CDPH. 

“This move may seem severe to some but in this highly evolving situation it’s absolutely what we need to do at this time as we work to contain this outbreak,” said Dr. Arwady. “We’ve been working daily for well over two months now with our partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on tracking this virus and assessing its course, using data to inform our decisions and following the science. This is the right thing to do in this moment.” 

"COVID-19 Illness" means demonstrating symptoms of acute respiratory disease, including, but not limited to, new onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath, congestion in the nasal sinuses or lungs, sore throat, body aches, or unusual fatigue. A person is considered to have COVID-19 illness until such person is free of fever (100.4° F (38.0° C) or greater using an oral thermometer), and any of the other symptoms described herein, for at least 72 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).

As the City continues to respond to COVID-19 it will pursue additional measures as needed to contain the virus. The City urges residents who are mandated to stay at home and who do not have access otherwise to contact 311 to be connected with food options.

Today's announcement is part of the City’s exhaustive response to the COVID-19, which is intended to keep the public safe, contain the spread of the virus, and provide relief to the healthcare system.  In recent days  Mayor Lightfoot’s administration has announced a number of measures to enhance the City’s emergency response on COVID-19, with new guidelines built to reduce non-essential services, increase teleworking to protect the health and safety of the workforce, and lift the economic burden placed on residents—all while ensuring that essential City services can be continued.

More information and updates on COVID-19 can be found on the IDPH website, the CDPH website, and the CDC website.  Residents can seek more information and updates on COVID-19, tune into CDPH’s “The Doctor Is In” Livestream M-F at 11am, for mobile updates, text COVID19 to 78015 or email:

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