Chicago adds 5 states -- including West Virginia and Ohio -- to travel quarantine amid virus spike
By DON BABWIN and JOHN O’CONNOR Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago added five states to its travel quarantine order as rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations prompted Mayor Lori Lightfoot to announce she’s thinking about reimposing strict guidelines on businesses that were put in place earlier this year.
Rising numbers prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker to impose tighter restrictions on social interaction to parts of the state for the second time in as many days, including on Tuesday to four densely populated counties in suburban Chicago.
On Tuesday, city officials announced that starting on Friday, travelers from Colorado, Ohio, Delaware, West Virginia and Texas will be subject to a two-week quarantine requirement. The city did not remove any states from its quarantine order as it has in past weeks.
The sobering news about an increase in the number of positive tests and a rise in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Illinois also has officials warning about a so-called second wave of cases. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was worried enough about people letting their guard down about the virus that she asked city residents to stop hosting events such as dinner parties and card games.
On Tuesday, state health officials announced 3,714 new known COVID-19 cases and 41 additional fatalities. Those latest figures bring the total number of new infections in the state to 350,875 and the statewide death toll to 9,277 since the pandemic began. Also, the seven-day statewide positivity rate as of Tuesday was 5.5%.
The suburban Chicago counties of DuPage, Kane, Kankakee and Will, which comprise Regions 7 and 8 of Pritzker’s COVID-19 recovery plan, have had unacceptable numbers of consecutive days with increasing test-positivity rates and hospital admissions, so Pritzker imposed “resurgence mitigations” to take effect starting Friday. They’re the same he imposed on Region 1, northwestern Illinois, on Oct. 3, and which start Thursday in Region 5, which comprises far southern Illinois.
The restrictions prohibit indoor bar and restaurant service, and require food and bar service to end at 11 p.m. That’s also when gambling casinos must close. Meetings and gatherings must be limited to 25 people and must be social-distanced.
Pritzker defended restrictions on dining out and gathering at bars, saying the decision is based on research.
“This isn’t about punishing anybody,” Prtizker said. “All the studies that have been done about bars and restaurants show that these are significance spreading locations… so we’re putting mitigations in on a targeted basis to make sure that we bring down our positivity rates, so that those businesses can reopen to indoor dining.”
O’Connor reported from Springfield, Illinois.