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U.S. Virgin Islands Travelers Now Face Mandatory Quarantine In Illinois

CHICAGO — Illinois Health officials added the U.S. Virgin Islands and two mainland states to the Chicago travel advisory list this week.

The designation means that all travelers coming from the territory, Louisiana and South Carolina must self-quarantine upon arrival in Illinois.

As of January 1, 2022, St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John had 2,150 active COVID-19 cases and a 7-day positivity average of 23.40 percent, the Virgin Islands Department of Health said today.

The U.S. Virgin Islands has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States at 50.6 percent of the population immunized against COVID-19. Neighboring Puerto Rico has the highest vaccination rate in the country at 77 percent.

Only Idaho, Mississippi, Alabama, Nebraska, Wyoming and Louisiana have lower vaccination rates than the USVI.

Every state or territory except for Guam and Montana are on the Travel Advisory. Three states – Alaska, Idaho, and Mississippi – are eligible to come off the advisory next week.

Daily COVID-19 case rates must be below 15 per 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks for a state to be removed from the advisory.

The U.S. average daily case rate per 100,000 residents is 62.2 – nearly double what it was three weeks ago (31.3). Illinois’ daily case rate currently is 87.1, also more than double what it was three weeks ago (39.2).

Chicago’s daily case rate is 140.3, a more than 500 percent increase from three weeks ago (23.2).  

Under the Advisory, unvaccinated travelers should be tested for COVID-19 before and after travel from any state on the advisory list and should quarantine upon arrival in Chicago. For domestic travel, the quarantine and testing recommendations do not apply to fully vaccinated travelers.  

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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