Two states are subject to new travel restrictions from Chicago as the Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread nationally.
On Tuesday, the city added Arkansas and Missouri to its travel advisory list “amid an increase in COVID-19 cases in some regions of the country,” the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) said in a statement. For the past several weeks, no states were on the list.
“Any unvaccinated people traveling from Missouri or Arkansas are advised to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago or quarantine for a 10-day period upon arrival,” the CDPH said. “CDPH continues to stress the importance of getting vaccinated for COVID, and adherence to all masking guidelines for travel.”
Chicago added the two states to its travel advisory list after they both surpassed the city’s limit of 15 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents. Arkansas is reporting around 19.2 daily cases per 100,000 residents, while Missouri is reporting about 21.2.
In a statement, CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and this only goes to show that the virus is still very much a threat and that we must all remain vigilant against it…. That means getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in public settings if you are not fully vaccinated.”
Several other states, such as Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah, could also be placed on Chicago’s travel advisory list. All of these states are reporting more than 10 daily coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents.
The CDPH’s statement also noted that the Delta variant “now makes up more than 50 percent of COVID-19 cases.”
Chicago expanded its travel advisory list as the Delta variant is rapidly spreading across the nation.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Missouri is the state with the highest percentage of Delta variant cases, with 29.9 percent. Less than 50 percent of the state’s residents are vaccinated against the virus, according to data from the state’s health department.
During a recent press briefing, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said, “Although we expected the Delta variant to become the dominant strain in the United States, this rapid rise is troubling.”
Walensky continued, “We know that the Delta variant has increased transmissibility, and it is currently surging in pockets of the country with low vaccination rates…. We also know that our authorized vaccines prevent severe disease, hospitalization and death from the Delta variant and results.”
Newsweek reached out to the CDPH for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.