Indiana has joined the states on Chicago’s emergency travel order after a surge of coronavirus cases in the Hoosier state.
People coming to Chicago from states on the list are asked to quarantine for 14 days, though there are exceptions for necessary trips, such as for medical care or travel by essential workers.
Changes to the list of states affected by the travel advisory are announced on Tuesdays and take effect the following Friday.
Indiana officially goes on the list as of 12:01 a.m. Friday, along with Rhode Island and New Mexico. The list now includes 25 states as well as Puerto Rico.
Though there is no formal enforcement of the quarantine, Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady urged residents to follow the order, especially those living near the Indiana border on the Southeast Side. She said Indiana’s loosening of “science-based” restrictions should concern everyone.
“I just want you and your families to be able to avoid COVID, and one of the best ways that you can do that is to not have unnecessary exposure to high risk settings for COVID,” Arwady said. “It’s not just that [Indiana’s] rates are higher, although they are; it’s that a lot of the science-based things that we have in place — ranging from masks to sizes of gatherings to distance at a restaurant — are currently not in place” in Indiana.
The announcement comes as Illinois health officials reported 2,851 new confirmed coronavirus cases while the state’s average positivity rate has continued to grow over the last week.
Illinois also recorded 29 additional COVID-19 related deaths in 102 counties, pushing the state’s death tally past 9,000. As of Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health was reporting 9.026 victims of COVID-19.
All 29 people whose deaths were most recently recorded were over age 40. As of last night, 1,848 people in Illinois were in the hospital with COVID-19, 406 of those patients were in ICU, and 160 patients were on ventilators.
The most recent confirmed cases were among 55,993 tests conducted over the last 24 hours. The state’s seven-day positivity rate continued to rise, reaching 4.5% — a full percentage point higher than last week.
The state has documented seven straight days of 2,000-plus confirmed cases.
“More than 9,000 Illinoisans — our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, family, friends, and neighbors — have had their lives cut short by COVID-19, leaving tens of thousands more to grieve loved ones lost too soon,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “My heart breaks for all those who have lost a loved one in this battle we never asked to fight — may their memories be for a blessing.”
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, urged people take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others from this disease.
“After nine months of battling this virus and hearing the updates each day, many of us forget that the hospitalizations and deaths are more than just numbers,” Ezike said in a statement. “They are our family, friends and loved ones who have been directly impacted by COVID-19, which continues to spread.”
“You can help slow the spread and reduce the number of people who become sick with COVID-19 by wearing your mask, washing your hands and watching your distance.”
Confidence in vaccine undermined by Trump, Lightfoot says
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday the Chicago Department of Public Health has been “planning a regime” for distributing a coronavirus vaccine for several months now.
But it’s too soon to say who in Chicago — whether it’s first-responders or the elderly — will get it first.
There are “lots of different trials” still underway. And we still don’t know whether there will be “one shot or multiple shots,” the mayor said.
One thing is certain: The monumental effort of persuading Chicagoans to get vaccinated for COVID-19 will be complicated by the politics of President Donald Trump, Lightfoot said.
“Let’s just be honest: It’s him. He’s politicized the vaccine. People have to have confidence in a vaccine that comes out. They have to have confidence that there were no shortcuts. That this was done by the books. That there was the same rigor on this vaccine as there would be in any other vaccine, when we’re talking about the size of a global pandemic,” she said.
“This can’t be a gift given to the president to boost his re-election. That’s where the skepticism comes.”
Lightfoot said she is confident that when a vaccine is good and ready and proven to be safe Chicago will have a “good plan to implement it and make sure that everyone gets the opportunity to take the vaccine.”
“We are gonna be heavily promoting it, understanding that we’re operating, unfortunately, in an environment where people are skeptical about the validity of the vaccine. That’s unfortunately another hurdle that we’re just gonna have to overcome — and we will,” she said.