For safety purposes, effective Aug. 24, masks with filter valves or vents will no longer be permitted for wear in all San Antonio Military Health System facilities, including Brooke Army Medical Center, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center and all outlying clinics.

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, masks with exhalation valves or vents should not be worn to help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others.

The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. However, masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others.

This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others. (Source:

As a reminder, all personnel, patients and visitors are required to wear a face covering upon entry and while in common areas of a San Antonio military medical facility regardless of social distancing.

Common areas include medical malls, waiting areas, entrances and main hallways, pharmacies, and shared workspaces such as nursing stations, conference rooms, classrooms, huddle areas, workrooms, non-personal offices, etc. In general, anywhere that multiple people are gathered in close proximity.

Please continue to do your part to slow the spread of this virus: wear a proper face covering, wash your hands regularly and socially distance from others, both at work and in your communities. That is the best way to preserve the health of our patients and staff.

As always, if you feel sick, stay home and call before coming in. This is the best way to support and protect each other and our patients.

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