SEMBACH KASERNE, Germany – Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak across Europe, all Army medical treatment facilities and Army installations are taking extra safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.Like all army health clinics in Europe, the Baumholder Army Health Clinic is working hard to ensure the safety of patients entering the building.“We transitioned to a single entrance for our clinic and, due to our layout, are able to conduct health screenings upon entry into the vestibule,” said Lt. Col. Elizabeth Gum, commander of Baumholder Army Health Clinic.“Visitors and patients stand behind a red line and answer symptom screening questions asked by one of our staff members. If the answers to the screening questions indicate potential COVID-19, or other communicable risk, they are offered a mask and diverted to our “hot” treatment area on the first floor to check in,” added Gum.Gum says that they are also leveraging virtual health capabilities to maximize social distancing and prevent the spread of the virus.“We are also using virtual appointments for our patients through teleconference and/or Tricare Online Secure Messaging,” Gum said. “Should the nurse or provider determine that COVID-19 testing, and or pharmaceuticals, are necessary during the telephone consultation, we have a team prepared to meet them at the front of the clinic and perform curbside testing and pharmacy prescription delivery,” said Gum.Similar precautionary measures are being taken by the medical staff at the Kleber Army Health Clinic in Kaiserslautern.“We have a tent set up in front of the clinic for patients who meet the criteria for COVID screening,” said Maj. Shara Fisher, commander of U.S. Army Health Clinic Kaiserslautern. “Prior to reaching the entrance to the clinic, patients are asked a series of screening questions based on guidance from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention.”“After the screening, if patients meet the criteria for further evaluation, they are immediately given a mask and are triaged by the primary COVID care team in the tent,” added Fisher. “Specimens are collected in the screening tent and sent off for testing. Any prescription medication the patient requires is then picked up by the staff and hand delivered outside the clinic so the patient does not have to enter the building.”Other Army medical treatment facilities in the European footprint have similar processes.“All of our Army health clinics in Europe are currently screening all patients who enter the clinic to ensure they are not at increased risk of having COVID-19,” said Col. Patrick Contino, chief of clinical operations for Regional Health Command Europe. “Everyone should expect to be screened, and may be directed to a particular location, either outside or within the clinic, for additional focused screening. We ask for everyone’s cooperation in putting the safety of our community first.”Contino says that patients are strongly encouraged to call their clinic or nurse advice line first before coming to the clinic in person.“This minimizes the potential exposure to the health care team and community to COVID-19 and improves the efficiency by which patients are evaluated,” Contino said.SCREENING STATIONS AT INSTALLATION ACCESS CONTROL POINTSIn addition to undergoing screening at Army medical clinics, all personnel entering Army installations will undergo a brief screening before being allowed on the installation.“We have implemented a number of measures on installations around the region, with the overarching goal of protecting our entire population, said Mark Heeter, the Army Installation Management Command-Europe public affairs officer. “Among these measures includes a quick medical screening of people accessing the installation.”Heeter emphasized that this capability exists because the entire Army team has stepped up to assist with this effort.“Soldiers from a variety of units have stepped in to assist in this medical screening process,” he said. “Some of them are in medical specialties, while others might not be. They are all making an important contribution to this critical mission that will mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible,” Heeter said.“We ask for everyone’s patience and understanding at the installation access control points. Please be straightforward when answering the questions and remember that your safety and health is our primary concern. We all have a part to play in preventing the spread of the virus for the safety of our community,” added Heeter.For more COVID-19 medical resources visit https://rhce.amedd.army.mil/COVID19info.html