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Increased virus testing confirms additional cases in county

It has been 10 weeks since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was found in Franklin County, and since then the county has seen a surge in numbers.

Franklin County has five different locations performing COVID-19 tests: Russellville Hospital, Red Bay Hospital, Franklin County Health Department, Mission Medical and Urgent Care.

“We really just encourage everyone to be safe and take precautions,” said Urgent Care RN Jodie Boyles. “We are seeing a lot of new cases, so we ask everyone to practice social distancing and come in for testing if they experience symptoms.”

Boyles said the main symptoms she has seen patients experiencing are fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, body aches and lack of smell or taste. She said she would encourage anyone who has symptoms to get tested, especially if they have a fever.

Boyles said Urgent Care has been trying to do tests from cars to limit interaction between patients and is requiring all patients to wear a mask.

“We try to limit interaction as much as we can and get people to practice precautions as if they are positive,” Boyles said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Franklin County had 631 confirmed cases with 10 deaths out of 2,602 people tested, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. There were 143 new cases within the past 14 days, with 876 people tested.

Statewide, COVID-19 cases had topped 21,000, with 725 deaths.

Boyles said it usually takes three to seven days for tests results to come back. In that time, patients are asked to quarantine themselves and act as if they are positive.

“We are so appreciative to these health workers who are testing and helping out during this time,” said Franklin County Probate Judge Barry Moore. “Obviously the health of our citizens is the most important thing, so we are so thankful to those who work every day helping with this pandemic.”

Moore said he recommends anyone with symptoms check with their primary physician first and try to test at either the health department, Mission Medical or Urgent Care to limit exposure to patients in the hospital.

Last week the ADPH announced it has experienced a decrease in callers after hours on its information hotline concerning COVID-19. With this in mind, the ADPH is changing the hours on the hotline to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day beginning June 15.

For general information on COVID-19, call 800-270-7268. For more information about available testing sites, call 888-264-2256.