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Military health officials begin screening Air Force basic trainees for COVID-19

  • Published
  • By 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs
  • 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

San Antonio Military Health System officials have begun screening recruits entering Air Force Basic Military Training to prevent COVID-19 transmission among the trainee and joint base population.

Each trainee is screened by qualified medical professionals upon arrival at the BMT reception center and anyone identified as a potential infected person would then be isolated from the rest of the population and provided treatment. During screening, all appropriate Centers for Disease Control preventive guidelines are followed by healthcare personnel. As of publication, no trainees have been identified as positive with COVID-19.

“Our goal is to preserve AETC’s mission here at JBSA-Lackland,” said Col. Rebecca Blackwell, 559th Medical Group commander. “In accordance with CDC guidance, we are working to keep our training population healthy and continue to provide the USAF a steady stream of medically ready Airmen.”

The joint base and San Antonio populations should keep in mind the risk of infection remains low; there are currently no community cases of COVID-19 in Bexar County or the City of San Antonio.

To protect yourself and those around you from viruses, consider calling in before seeking care. Call the Nurse Advice Line, or NAL, or your Primary Care Manager before coming to the Family Emergency Center or Brooke Army Medical Center.

The NAL for TRICARE beneficiaries is a team of registered nurses who are available 24/7 to answer a variety of urgent healthcare questions. Visit MHSNurseAdviceLine.com for a web or video chat, or dial 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273), option 1. They can help you decide whether self-care is the best option, or if it is better to see a healthcare provider. Our beneficiaries also can schedule an appointment with their PCM by calling the Consult Appointment Management Office (CAMO) at 210-916-9900.

There are several actions the CDC recommends to prevent infection:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Close contact is defined as within 6 feet for 10 minutes.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Notify supervisors and consider staying home when you are sick.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating;, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

CDC does not recommend that people who are healthy wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings, such as at home or in a health care facility.

For more information about virus prevention, visit https://www.cdc.gov/. For more information on COVID-19, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

In addition, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has opened a COVID-19 hotline for residents to ask questions about the virus. The hotline is available in English and Spanish. For COVID-19 questions call 210-207-5779. The hotline is open Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information is also available at www.sanantonio.gov/health/2019ncoronavirus