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NEWS | April 18, 2020

Cloth face coverings required in SAMHS medical facilities

By 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

To preserve the safety of our patients, healthcare professionals and family members, the San Antonio Military Health System, or SAMHS, is implementing every measure possible to curb the spread of COVID-19 to include screenings, self-isolation and social distancing
As an additional measure, effective Monday, April 27, all personnel, patients and visitors will be required to wear a cloth face covering while in common areas of a San Antonio military medical facility regardless of social distancing.
While not required immediately, everyone is highly encouraged to start wearing a face covering this week. Common areas include medical malls, waiting areas, entrances and main hallways.
This action is to help prevent transmission from infected individuals who may or may not have symptoms of COVID-19 and is consistent with the community requirement to wear face coverings in public places.
For the CDC's recommendations on the wear and maintenance of cloth face coverings and instructions on how to make your own, visit
Keep in mind that face masks with inappropriate, violent, political or offensive graphics are not permitted. As always, our focus remains on delivering highly professional customer service and care. 
Cloth face coverings are not considered personal protective equipment, or PPE, because their capability to protect healthcare personnel is unknown. PPE recommendations for health care providers are unchanged; appropriate level of PPE is expected for direct patient care. Staff engaged in administrative duties and not in close contact with patients should use cloth face coverings.
Additionally, access to SAMHS facilities will remain restricted with active screening of everyone for symptoms of COVID-19 before they enter using temperature checks and/or screening questions. Anyone who screens positive will be denied access to the facility. In this case, staff should contact their supervisor, and patients and visitors should return home. Anyone exhibiting serious symptoms will be referred for evaluation and treatment as appropriate.
We all have a responsibility in keeping our military families and healthcare professionals safe. If you are feeling sick or having flu-like symptoms, stay home and call your supervisor or a healthcare provider before coming in to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
As a general reminder, SAMHS offers a COVID-19 Beneficiary Nurse Info Line. Call 210-581-2266, Option 6, from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday to book a CAMO appointment or for home-care instructions. After hours, call the MHS Nurse Advice Line at 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273), option 1. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or proceed directly to the ED.