SIERRA VISTA — The number of positive COVID-19 cases are beginning to rise daily at Canyon Vista Medical Center, a spokeswoman said, with Thursday morning seeing 33 new cases at the health-care facility, a slight increase from the day before.

“We’re starting to see a surge of positive COVID patients,” hospital spokeswoman Valerie Weller said.

While Canyon Vista Medical Center is not at capacity, Weller said officials have started enacting “some of our surge capacity plans.”

That means officials are using units within the facility where the hospital would not normally have medical surgical patients and placing them in surge capacity beds in those areas.

Statistics provided by Cochise Health and Social Services on Thursday show how positive COVID-19 cases increased daily over a two-week period from Dec. 24 to Jan. 6. On Christmas Eve, the county saw 199 new cases, the statistics show. On Wednesday, there were 216 new cases.

The virus situation has grown such that the commanding general at Fort Huachuca issued yet another general order on Dec. 30, placing further restrictions on service members and civilians who “are assigned, attached, live or work on, or visit Fort Huachuca.”

While service members who violate the restrictions when off the installation will face retribution, civilian employees are “strongly encouraged” to follow the edicts off post as well said Brig. Gen. Tony Hale.

The new restrictions include: No eating inside restaurants on or off post; no indoor shopping, except for essentials such as food, fuel, medications and auto repair; no gatherings of more than 10 people.

At this week’s Facebook Live COVID-19 Town Hall session, Hale sounded a dismal note when he announced that in the last 10 days, the installation had seen its first COVID-related deaths.

Army spokeswoman Tanja Linton said those who passed away were “associated” with Fort Huachuca.

Hale also said that with the return of hundreds of soldiers to Fort Huachuca after the holidays, the number of COVID-19 cases at the post are the highest they’ve been since the pandemic took hold.

“We’ve seen a spike in cases as our AIT (Advanced Individual Training) soldiers and our Permanent Party Personnel returned from holiday block leave,” Hale said at the Town Hall session. “It is important that we re-establish the bubble around our installation.”