MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. - Morgan County had its first confirmed COVID-19 patient. With cases steadily increasing throughout the state, community leaders opened a new flu and fever clinic in Hartselle Tuesday, March 24th.
This one joins a growing list of fever and flu drive-through clinics throughout North Alabama, but different drive-thru clinics have their own rules on who's allowed to meet with medical staff.
The new clinic is located in the parking lot of Hartselle Family Practice. It's by the Walmart on Highway 31. You need to be pre-screened by your healthcare provider in order to visit it.
It's meant for adults with the flu, strep throat, a fever, or COVID-19 symptoms, but not all patients will be tested for the same illnesses.
"People need to understand that everyone who comes here isn't tested for COVID-19," said Decatur-Morgan Hospital Community Consultant Ed Nichols. "You have to have certain criteria. You could have symptoms of strep - we could test you - and the flu."
Nichols said - right now - doctors are relying on telemedicine to interact with their patients. If they need more medical attention, the drive-through clinics will work to keep both patients and doctors safe.
"We feel like it's helping our physicians," said Nichols. "It's easing the burden on our emergency room, it provides people the opportunity to be out of their homes to be tested."
The Hartselle clinic requires a physician's order -- no exceptions. Patients will also need a photo ID, insurance card, and a cell phone if they have one. The visit will then be billed to their health insurance.
"We're part of the Huntsville [Hospital Health] System. So across the network of the Huntsville system, we've put in place several different types of clinics so this is just one of those," said Nichols.
Those tested for respiratory illnesses will get their results in about 20 minutes, but patients who are tested for COVID-19 will need to wait several days for those results.
The clinic saw five patients today. Of those five - three were tested for COVID-19. On Wednesday, nurses will test at least six patients for respiratory illnesses.
WHNT News 19 is tracking confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. The Alabama Department of Public Health said there are more than 200 confirmed cases now.
This clinic will be open from 9 am until noon Monday-Friday. The address is 1211 Highway 31, Hartselle, Al 35640.