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Chicago’s Travel Advisory Will Follow New CDC Guidelines

Travel Advisory

Chicago’s Department of Public Health (CDPH) removed California, Alabama, New Hampshire, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, and New Mexico from its weekly COVID-19 travel advisory. It announced that their advisory aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coronavirus community levels.

The travel advisory will follow the new CDC guidance to allow officials to pinpoint nationwide counties where COVID-19 are classified as high, medium, or low risk rather than the whole states. For example, the state of Illinois is presently at low-risk classification.

CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., stated:

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. As we enter this new phase of the pandemic, we need 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.

Travel Advisory
Courtesy of Risingthermals (Flickr CC0)

The COVID-19 Community Levels is CDC’s new tool to help determine preventative measures based on the current data.

Chicago’s travel advisory is updated every Friday using the CDC COVID-19 Community Level data.

Travelers should check the map before traveling so they know whether the areas they are traveling to are a high, medium, or low risk for COVID-19 state.

  • No additional action must be taken if the areas are low risk.
  • However, if the areas are medium risk, travelers should wear masks in indoor public places.
  • For high-risk areas, consider wearing masks when they are indoors in public places, including schools.
  • Children under five years old must avoid traveling to high-risk areas if they are not up-to-date with their vaccines.
  • Unvaccinated Chicagoans who traveled to high-risk areas must take the COVID test, stay at home, and follow CDC guidelines.
  • All travelers must have up-to-date coronavirus vaccines, get tested, and self-isolate if they develop symptoms.
  • Bring masks and pack at-home COVID test kits.

Given the delay in vaccination for children under five years, they are currently exempt from the City’s Travel Advisory, but they should travel with vaccinated adults. A COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection for COVID-19 severe outcomes.

As the spring break travel rush began, 16 U.S. states were dropped from the travel advisory last week.

International travelers are subject to the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control guidelines regardless of citizenship or vaccination status. Therefore, they should get a negative COVID-19 viral test one day before traveling to the United States.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


Block Club Chicago: Chicago’s Travel Advisory Will Now Let People Track COVID Risk By County, Not Just State; by Kelly Bauer
NBC Chicago: Chicago Announces Changes to Travel Advisory Format Beginning Friday
Chicago.gov: Travel Advisory

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Manfred Reinert’s Pixabay Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Risingthermals’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


Cathrine Osborne, DM

Infectious Disease Physician

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