The Chicago Department of Public Health on Friday urged COVID-19 precautions in areas of the country considered medium or high risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as it unveiled new recommendations for travel advisories to align with federal guidelines.
CDPH issued a press release, explaining that it has adjusted Chicago’s travel advisory to match CDC county-level guidelines, which places more weight on hospitalizations and hospital capacity, rather than to the strict number of cases. Under the new protocols, counties are considered low, medium, or high risk for COVID transmission.
In medium-risk areas, people should “consider wearing a mask in indoor public spaces,” health officials say. In communities deemed high risk, people are advised to wear a mask in such settings.
Those who are 5 or older and not up to date with COVID vaccinations should avoid traveling to areas listed as high risk, according to the recommendations. Unvaccinated people who decide to travel should follow CDC guidelines upon returning to Chicago, which include quarantining for 5 days after travel and testing for COVID 3-5 days after returning.
According to the latest update of the CDC’s county-by-county community levels map, 8.9% of counties in Puerto Rico and the United States have been classified as medium or high risk.
Most states have low levels of COVID-19, according to the CDPH, but some states, such as Montana and Kentucky, have large clusters of medium to high COVID-19 levels.
Parts of the Midwest are experiencing problematic metrics.
Six counties in Michigan, all in the upper northwest part of the state around the Traverse City area, have high levels of COVID-19, as shown on the CDC map.
Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady previously said that even vaccinated people should keep an eye out for the city’s COVID transmission maps for the rest of the United States and should bring their maps with them. when they travel.
“There are places that will continue to need it,” she said. “I would encourage you when traveling to put one of these home COVID test packs right in your bag.”
All travelers are encouraged to be up to date on COVID vaccinations and self-monitor for symptoms of the virus. Chicagoans are also encouraged to take home a COVID test to use if symptoms develop while traveling.