CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Department of Public Health is not adding or removing any states from its emergency travel order this week, after warning last week that Michigan could soon be added to the list.

The order requires people to self-quarantine for 14 days when arriving from states and territories seeing high COVID-19 case counts, and the list currently includes 31 states and Puerto Rico: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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Florida was added to the list last week, and the Chicago Department of Public Health warned that Michigan could be added as soon as this week. The city normally updates the travel order every Tuesday, with additions taking effect the following Friday, and removals taking effect immediately.

However, no announcements were made about the travel order this Tuesday, due to the election, and on Wednesday the Chicago Department of Public Health announced on Twitter there would be no changes to the list. Officials said a full update is planned for next week.

Last week, city officials said West Virginia and Delaware could soon be removed from the list after reducing their infection rates. States are added to the list when they reach more than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 resident population, per day, over a 7-day rolling average. They can be removed from the list when that rate falls back below 15 cases per 100,000 population for two consecutive weeks.

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Chicago’s quarantine mandate requires people to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days when they arrive in the city from states and territories considered to be COVID hotspots, including visitors to Chicago, and residents who are returning from travel to one of the states.

People who regularly travel to border states on the quarantine list for work or school are exempt from the travel order, but should only travel to those states for work or school purposes. Otherwise, if they take part in any non-work or non-school activities while in a state on the list, they are subject to the quarantine order.

Exceptions also apply for those leaving home for medical treatment, or parental shared custody reasons; and for people for whom self-quarantine “is not possible, practicable or advisable.”

Otherwise, people who travel to states on the list, even if for less than 24 hours, still need to quarantine upon returning unless deemed an essential worker, a commuting student, or for one of the other exceptions.

While people who violate the quarantine order can face fines of $100-$500 per day, up to $7,000, enforcement is almost entirely on the honor system. The city has said officials are focusing on encouraging people to change their travel patterns, and to delay trips unless they’re absolutely necessary.

Although the city has issued warning letters to people they know have violated the quarantine order, officials have not issued any fines.


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CBS 2 Chicago Staff