JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 31, 2022) -- The San Antonio Market, to include Brooke Army Medical Center and the 59th Medical Wing, will close their consolidated drive-thru COVID-19 screening and testing sites April 1.
BAMC opened its drive-thru site in March 2020, screening and testing more than 76,000 individuals over the past 24 months. The decision to close the drive-thru site was based on a steady decline in need and to allow the staff to return to supporting primary care within BAMC.
“The staff worked exceptionally hard, especially during the start of the pandemic, setting up locations, equipment and supplies,” said U.S. Army Col. Elizabeth Stanley, BAMC preventive medicine chief. “They stood firm throughout the several surges during the pandemic even when exposed to extreme weather conditions and hundreds of cars lined up in front of them.”
On average, 25 personnel worked in the screening and testing area, which relocated from the parking lot near the Medical Mall entrance to the first floor of the parking garage in May 2020.
“The move was made in order to continue operations during inclement weather and to streamline the process including automation,” Stanley said.
“A number of team members stayed for a year or longer to help out with continuity and smooth transition of the mission from one location to another, including the mobile testing operations for MEDCoE (U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence) students,” she added.
With the site closing, screening and testing will be distributed throughout the organization. Beginning April 4, BAMC patients in need of a test can obtain testing in their primary care clinic.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing will be available by appointment only; call the Consult Appointment Management Office (CAMO) at 210-916-9900. Results will be posted on the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal (https://patientportal.mhsgenesis.health.mil/) within about 72 hours.
Beneficiaries can also pick up antigen self-test kits from 8 a.m. to noon at their primary care clinic on a walk-in basis for home COVID-19 testing.
For patients in need of a pre-op or pre-procedural test, individual clinics will provide test details prior to surgery. Patients undergoing pre-op or pre-procedural testing should obtain a PCR test (not antigen testing).
59th MDW Screening/Testing
More than 13,000 beneficiaries received screening and testing at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center since Aug. 18, 2021 at its COVID-19 screening and testing location.
"It was certainly an honor to work with so many talented medics and civilians who all gave their time and ceaseless energy to successfully complete our mission,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. William Hayes, 59th Medical Wing COVID screening operations officer in charge. “I am especially grateful for all the hard-working dedication from each individual that gave their 100 percent each and every day right by my side.”
“The COVID testing line was a perfect expression of what our military can do with dedicated volunteer Airmen putting their boots to the ground and making a challenging mission become an overwhelming success,” he added.
With the drive-thru site closing, beginning April 4, TRICARE eligible beneficiaries can pick up at-home COVID-19 rapid diagnostic test kits in the WHASC atrium at the information desk located through Entry Door B, or at the Randolph Clinic main entrance information desk Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8-10 a.m. Beneficiaries must present their ID card and can receive up to 8 test kits per month.
For patients in need of a pre-op or pre-procedural test, individual clinics will provide test details prior to surgery. Service members who are deploying and in need of a test will be provided instructions from their deployment managers.
As an additional option for testing, patients can obtain a test at a community-based site. For locations, visit https://covid19.sanantonio.gov/What-YOU-Can-Do/Testing.
Both Stanley and Hayes agree, setting up and maintaining the screening and testing sites was a collaborative effort between multiple departments including Information Technology, Pathology and Laboratory Services, Facility Management, Medical Logistics and many others.
They both want to provide a “heartfelt thank you” to their leadership for ensuring they had all the resources and people necessary to meet the demands of the COVID testing lines.