SAM: Testing site operations Published Jan. 5, 2022 By 59th Medical Wing 59th Medical Wing JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The community is experiencing very high levels of COVID transmission related to the omicron variant. Testing continues to be available at BAMC, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center (WHASC) and in the community; however, unprecedented demand for testing has led to congestion, long lines and some delays in processing. Please know that we are doing everything we can to augment our testing sites at BAMC and WHASC. As a result of the increased demand, we have experienced an influx of patients to the BAMC Emergency Department (ED) and WHASC Family Emergency Center (FEC) for testing, which is creating delays for our emergency patients. Please do not visit the ED or FEC for COVID testing only. Patients with emergencies related to respiratory symptoms, acute and progressive symptoms of COVID or other illnesses should proceed to the ED/FEC, but an ER should not be used as an alternative to the regular testing sites. If you have mild COVID symptoms and are unable to acquire a test the same day, please isolate for 5 days as a precautionary measure. Community urgent care centers are also available for same-day, acute needs. Beneficiaries, other than active duty service members, DO NOT need a referral to receive care at a TRICARE-authorized urgent care center. The Nurse Advice Line can also triage and assist with obtaining appropriate care. Call the NAL: (800) 874-2273, Opt 1. We appreciate your support in minimizing any delays in care for our patients with true emergencies. For a list of community-based testing sites, visit https://covid19.sanantonio.gov/What-YOU-Can-Do/Testing <https://covid19.sanantonio.gov/What-YOU-Can-Do/Testing> . Additionally, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has opened a COVID-19 Hotline for residents; call 311 or 210-207-6000 and select option 8. Hours of operation are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon.