Shelby County physician sees record breaking patients, positive COVID cases

Local News

SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) – Another record of new COVID-19 cases in Alabama was broken Wednesday as more than 11,000 new ones were confirmed in the past 24 hours. Right now four out of every 10 tests are positive in the state.

Every county in Alabama remains at a high level of community transmission of COVID, and with an even more contagious variant out there, more people may be looking for tests or not sure where to find them.

Dr. Amy Illescas recently moved her practice to a new location on Highway 280 and added a drive-thru on to the building to be able to keep up with the continued demand. She said demand has tripled in the last month.

“Getting to see that patient eyeball to eyeball and look at them where we couldn’t do in our old facility because we were trying to isolate sick patients from healthy patients, now we can actually go up to their window with appropriate protective gear on ourselves and call them in a prescription,” Illescas said.

According to Illescas, the office processes hundreds of COVID tests each day.

“The numbers have really escalated and when we came back after New Year’s it was almost unlike anything that we had seen even in the height of COVID previously maybe a year or so ago,” she said. “On a day like today we’re seeing triple the number of patients we were seeing a month ago and that was probably triple what we saw three years ago.”

The Jefferson County Department of Health says it is also working to make access to testing more available. Health officer Dr. Mark Wilson said it’s important that high risk patients get tested so they can get access to other therapeutic treatments if necessary more quickly.

“I’m afraid right now for the cases being so high and the lack of testing capacity, some people may end up needing to stay home and ride it out not knowing for sure,” Wilson said.

Illescas said they are limited to what they can order and did run out of rapid tests last week.

“If more doctor’s offices were testing, we would definitely be running out and it be in short supply,” Illescas said. “That’s why it’s important for people to know where you can go get a test.”

She said no matter what, do what you can to decrease your chance of getting COVID in the first place.

If you’re struggling to find a test, Illescas said to look at the state health department website, to call your county health department or even your insurance company because it will be familiar with who is filing claims for testing.

Illescas’ office is now located at 10 Meadowview Dr. in Hoover and offers testing after 6:30 a.m.

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