Created: July 07, 2020 05:11 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Kirtland Air Force Base is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The base recently raised its health protection condition level to HPCON Charlie, meaning the area is experiencing sustained community spread.
Col. David Miller says the base saw an uptick in cases, but he wouldn't provide numbers due to security concerns.
"The number in the last two weeks exceeds that of the last four months, so we need to be very careful with our activities," he said.
The increase is following a national trend.
In June, the Department of Defense reported 10,462 cases. As of July 6, the number of cases increased to 21,493.
Col. Miller said people have become too complacent.
"A lot of the protests and parades, there was this natural tendency to – every time we turned on the TV or go downtown – we saw larger groups of people come together," he said. "And we had gone so long without having any cases ourselves, we started watching these things and let's be honest, a little bit of corona fatigue."
The base limited access to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, retirees and veterans are still allowed on base Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Col. Miller is urging troops to continue washing their hands and stay six feet apart.
He's also requiring everyone to wear a face covering when they can't keep their distance.
"I think a number of us have already heard, there's a couple meme's out there talking about you don't want to wear the face covering because it's uncomfortable," Col. Miller said. "The response you ought to be thinking is it's probably a lot more comfortable than having a respirator shoved down my throat."
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