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Wisconsin Could Be Back On Chicago’s Quarantine List Next Week, City’s Top Doctor Warns

"Things are not looking good in Wisconsin, broadly ...," said Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Alivio Medical Center's Pilsen drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in the Lower West Side neighborhood in action on Saturday, May 9, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Wisconsin could soon return to Chicago’s quarantine list, the city’s top doctor warned Monday.

Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Wisconsin’s recent surge in coronavirus cases could land the state back on Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order list next week. That would mean people coming from Wisconsin to Chicago would have to quarantine for 14 days.

Wisconsin was put on the list in late July, though it was removed shortly afterward. As students have swarmed universities there, though, the state’s positivity rate has again flown upward.

“… Certainly, we are watching Wisconsin with huge concern,” Arwady said at a Monday press conference. “They had their highest-ever number of cases of COVID reported last Thursday. They’ve had percent positivities in the 13-17 percent range.”

The city will officially issue its warning about Wisconsin on Tuesday, Arwady said; if its positivity rate doesn’t fall, the quarantine order would go into effect next week.

But people should avoid traveling to Wisconsin starting now for their health, Arwady said.

“Things are not looking good in Wisconsin, broadly …,” Arwady said.

Only people who spent a day or longer in high-risk states on the city’s list need to quarantine once they get to Chicago. People who have had layovers in those states do not need to quarantine.

People found violating the quarantine order can be fined $100-$500 per day, up to $7,000.

Because of the large number of people who travel between Chicago and Wisconsin for work, the city made several exceptions for essential workers when Wisconsin was previously added to the list.

Essential workers who were commuting didn’t have to quarantine, though they did have to abide by certain rules:

  • They had to limit their activities in Chicago to work-related activities and functions that directly support their work. They had to avoid public spaces as much as possible.
  • They were encouraged to monitor their temperature and check themselves for any symptoms of coronavirus. They had to wear a face covering in public, maintain social distance and clean and disinfect workspaces.
  • They were required to avoid extended time in public, contact with strangers and large group settings.

The Emergency Travel Order list is updated Tuesdays every week. Last week, officials added Kentucky to the list.

The current list:

• Alabama
• Arkansas
• Florida
• Georgia
• Hawaii
• Idaho
• Iowa
• Kansas
• Kentucky
• Louisiana
• Mississippi
• Missouri
• Nebraska
• Nevada
• North Carolina
• North Dakota
• Oklahoma
• South Carolina
• South Dakota
• Tennessee
• Texas

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