Nine months into the pandemic, Marshall County continues to be one of the hard hit areas.
On Wednesday, the county added 121 new positive cases, bringing the cumulative total to 7,205 confirmed cases. 1,372 of those cases occurred during first half of December, which equates to just over 19 percent of the total.
According to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health, the county also has a 14-day test positivity rate of 50.23 percent.
Amid this rise in cases, Rapid Care Family Medical Clinic in Albertville added a few rapid test machines to their arsenal to help get more people tested.
Nurse Practitioner Eric Hagood said since they started using the rapid tests last week, the clinc saw a roughly 30 percent increase in the number of daily patients. He said that shakes out to about 20 to 30 additional patients daily.
"And that's just in the first week. So, what we're going to see in the future, we'll see," Hagood said.
Rapid Care has the ability to run about 120 rapid tests each day, with the results coming back in about 15 minutes. Hagood said it was important for them to add the new test in addition to the PCR testing they have been doing.
"It gives the employers around here an opportunity to get an answer the same day so you have less absenteeism from work," Hagood said. "Also too, it helps to guide medical decision-making, so I know in fact if a patient has coronavirus, I'm going to treat them a little differently than I would if they had strep throat, for instance, or an upper-respiratory infection."
In addition, Clinical Manager Julia Acrey said she hopes that with people being able to more quickly see the impact of getting together in holiday gatherings, they might change their behaviors ahead of Christmas and New Year's.
"If they're able to get that rapid to see immediately, oh hey, maybe they're seeing the errors of their ways and we're changing maybe the culture right now," Acrey said.
Hagood said their clinic is also working with ADPH and will be among the sites that will administer the COVID-19 vaccines once they are widely available, but that's a bit farther down the road.
Acrey said those wanting a rapid test don't need an appointment before coming in.