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

Air Education and Training Command graphic

Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs graphic. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Dan Hawkins)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- 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 potentially infected person would then be isolated from the rest of the population and provided treatment. During the screening, all appropriate Centers for Disease Control preventive guidelines are followed by health care 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 U.S. Air Force a steady stream of medically-ready Airmen.”

To protect yourself and those around you from viruses, please consider calling in before seeking care. Call the Nurse Advice Line or your Primary Care Manager.

The NAL for TRICARE beneficiaries is a team of registered nurses who are available 24/7 to answer a variety of urgent health care questions. Visit MHSNurseAdviceLine.com for a web or video chat, or dial 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 health care provider. Beneficiaries can also schedule an appointment with their PCM by calling the Consult Appointment Management Office in their area.

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% 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 at home or in a healthcare 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.

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