CHICAGO — If you’re planning a summer road trip, be sure to do your homework before accidentally visiting a coronavirus hot spot, officials warned Wednesday.
While Illinois is preparing for an uptick in cases, the average rate of infection remains low in the state — 3 percent — compared with places like Indiana (8.4 percent), Iowa (9.4 percent) and Wisconsin (6.8 percent).
“Every state around us has double that or more,” Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday while providing a coronavirus update. “One of the states has a 9 percent positivity rate. Just know when you go into an area, you need to take extra precautions, recognizing we have real gains here that haven’t been realized in other places.”
Illinois had a stricter lockdown than surrounding states early in the pandemic. The state’s gradual reopening, social distancing and insistence on masks has made us part of “a small list of states that’s trying to get it right,” said Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
“That should give us all great pride in Illinois,” Ezike said. “We need to keep showing up for one another now more than ever.”
Ezike said wearing face coverings, washing hands and social distancing will be key to avoid massive spikes in states like Florida and Texas.
“We all have a hand to play in what our future looks like. Please bear any inconvenience that you think is associated with wearing a face covering, bear that inconvenience to prevent much further inconveniences down the road,” she said.
Earlier Wednesday, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Public Health, said she was “amazed” to enter a grocery store in Michigan while visiting family only to see no one wearing a mask.
“I think there is wishful thinking happening that COVID is over. It is not over,” Arwady said.
The city has implemented a quarantine order for COVID-19 hot spots, with anyone traveling to Iowa, Arizona, California, Florida and several other states required to self-isolate for at least 14 days.
On Wednesday, Pritzker encouraged Illinois travelers to wear a face covering even if it’s not required in a state you’re going to.
“We worry about the border areas and people who come over the border,” he said.
Americans are currently banned from entering almost every country in the world due to the high rate of coronavirus cases here. Currently, American passports are only being accepted in Albania, Dominican Republic, Kosovo, Maldives, Mexico, North Macedonia, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkey.
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