CHICAGO — Twelve states were added to Chicago’s travel advisory this week, meaning the majority are now on the list of states from which unvaccinated travelers are recommended to follow COVID-19 mitigation guidance after returning.
Among the dozen new states are Illinois neighbors Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa, according to a Tuesday tweet from the Chicago Department of Public Health. Also added were California, Delaware, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington state.
The last time more states were on the travel advisory than not was mid-April, CDPH said.
That brings the total to 31 states and two territories, meaning local travelers to those areas are advised to quarantine for 10 days or test negative for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours upon arriving in Chicago. States and territories are added to the travel advisory — which used to be mandatory but has since become optional — when they average at least 15 daily cases per 100,000 residents.
The travel update comes as the city sees an average 362 daily COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, up 46% from a week ago, and a 3.8% positivity rate. This surge was attributed to the highly contagious delta variant that has taken root across the U.S., including the Chicago area, public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live Tuesday.
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But Arwady stressed hospitalization and death rates remain lower risk and concentrate in unvaccinated people.
“And so if you have not gotten vaccinated yet, now is really the time with delta very much here,” Arwady said.
State health officials Tuesday reported 2,950 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, pushing the average number of daily cases to 2,751 over the past week. That’s the highest seven-day average of new cases since the week ending April 24, when the state was coming down from a spring surge in cases.
A week ago, the state was averaging 2,059 new cases per day, and a month ago the average was 447 daily cases.
The state reported 10 more coronavirus-related fatalities Tuesday. Over the past week, the state has averaged 12 deaths per day, marking the fourth straight day in double digits for the first time since late June. Just a week ago, the state was averaging six deaths per day.
In all, the state has reported 23,542 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Hospitalizations also continue to rise, with 1,488 patients in hospitals statewide as of Monday night. Over the past week, the state has averaged 1,292 coronavirus patients in the hospital per day, up from 938 a week earlier and 421 a month ago.
The state has seen a similar increase in the most serious cases, with an average of 264 patients per day in intensive care units over the past week, up from 87 per day a month ago.
“I think we can all see that the delta variant is beginning to overtake parts of the country,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday at an unrelated event. “ICU beds are now full, as I understand, in a number of states. And as you know, just because it’s happening somewhere else does not mean that it’s not coming to Illinois. We see our case numbers going up, our hospitalizations going up, and so we’re watching very carefully.”