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Chicago travel advisory expanded to 14 states with surging COVID-19 cases; Lollapalooza is still on

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Travel Order - File Photo

A sign about COVID-19 travel orders Feb. 14, 2021, at Terminal 5 of O'Hare International Airport.

The city of Chicago is on pace to hit the 200-case-per-day benchmark for potential new restrictions “within the next few days,” but Lollapalooza remains scheduled to happen, top doctor Allison Arwady said.

Arwady made the comments as she unveiled an expanded travel advisory, which asks that residents who travel to 14 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands to quarantine when they return if they aren’t vaccinated or don’t obtain a negative test. She also spoke two days before Lollapalooza is scheduled to begin in Chicago’s Grant Park.

“I expect that we will pass the 200-mark and move into moderate risk probably within the next few days,” Arwady, the city’s public health commissioner, said.

The nations top health agency is expected to backpedal Tuesday on its masking guidelines and recommend that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging, according to a federal official.The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to release the data.For much of the pandemic, the CDC advised Americans to wear masks outdoors if they were within 6 feet of one another.Then in April, as vaccination rates rose sharply, the agency eased its guidelines on the wearing of masks outdoors, saying that fully vaccinated Americans no longer needed to cover their faces unless they were in a big crowd of strangers. In May, the guidance was eased further for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.The guidance still called for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings, like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it cleared the way for reopening workplaces and other venues.Subsequent CDC guidance said fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks at summer camps or at schools, either.SEE MORE: Vaccinated Teachers And Students Don't Need Masks, CDC SaysFor months COVID cases, deaths and hospitalizations were falling steadily, but those trends began to change at the beginning of the summer as a mutated and more transmissible version of the coronavirus, the delta variant, began to spread widely, especially in areas with lower vaccination rates.In recent weeks, a growing number of cities and towns have restored indoor masking rules. St. Louis, Savannah, Georgia, and Provincetown, Massachusetts, are among the places that reimposed mask mandates this month.Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Arwady also announced that the city will expand a program offering $25 Visa gift cards to everyone vaccinated at home as part of a city program aimed at getting people booked. The gift card distribution will begin Aug. 2, Arwady said.

People can sign up by calling 312-746-4835 or visiting the city’s website.

The states newly added to the travel advisory are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.

Two weeks ago, the city added Missouri and Arkansas back to Chicago’s emergency travel advisory amid rising COVID-19 numbers in those states thanks to the delta variant, breaking a several-week streak of no travel advisories. Unvaccinated travelers returning to Chicago from places under the advisory are asked to abide by quarantine or COVID-19 test requirements.

Then last week, Chicago also added Florida, Louisiana, Nevada and the U.S. Virgin Islands to the list.

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