Alaska air base declares public health emergency amid COVID
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AP) — Military leaders on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson have declared a public health emergency and encouraged all personnel to avoid places that do not require masks or social distancing in response to increasing COVID-19 cases in Alaska, officials said.
“We’ve all seen COVID-19 cases continue to spread rapidly across our nation, the state of Alaska and in our local community,” U.S. Air Force Col. Kirsten Aguilar, 673d Air Base Wing and JBER commander, said in a statement Friday. “After close consultation with JBER mission commanders, I have decided to declare a Public Health Emergency.”
Aguilar said the declaration will remain in effect for 30 days, but could be shortened or extended based on cases and community transmission of COVID-19.
The base has been upgraded to Health Protection Condition Bravo. This means that Aguilar can implement additional measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
” If the situation worsens, additional measures will be taken to protect the force, including restricting access at off-base establishments.” the statement stated.
Hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases across the state have increased as a result of the highly contagious delta variant. Alaska on Friday reported more than 1,200 newly confirmed cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins.
More than 411,000 people, or 56% of the state population, has received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 357,000 people, or 49% of the state population, are fully vaccinated.