TO: SHA Physicians and Staff
FROM: Brian Witt, Executive Director Diagnostic Imaging
RE: Medical Imaging Position Statement on Imaging in Diagnosis of COVID-19
This memo represents a joint collaboration between Bryan Witt, Executive Director Diagnostic Imaging and Dr. Sheldon Wiebe Interim Provincial Head, Department of Medical Imaging. As we navigate the uncertain waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to reach out to the medical staff and provide guidance with regards to the role of imaging in the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection.
Position on Diagnosis of COVID-19:In terms of diagnosis of COVID-19, advanced imaging, and even conventional radiography, should not be used for the diagnosis of COVID-19. As has been reiterated by our Infectious Disease and Public Health leadership, COVID-19 is a diagnosis made with a nasopharyngeal swab nucleic acid test (NAT). As per recommendations by the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (RRPL) respiratory samples collected for Influenza/RSV testing at all SHA sites will also be automatically tested for COVID-19 and vice versa.
The role of imaging should be reserved to help guide management of patients already diagnosed with COVID-19 where imaging is felt to be necessary to help guide medical and interventional decision making. There is a great deal of interest in social media as well as the number of publication highlighting the computed tomography findings of COVID-19. It should be clearly noted that this represents a very small subset of patients that are acutely unwell and admitted with COVID-19 infection.
Position on Reduction of Service:The provincial Medical Imaging Department is taking action to reduce opportunities for patient exposure to COVID-19. As such, procedures that can be delayed without significant patient impact are being postponed until they can be safely rescheduled.
Please note that all of our colleagues in the Medical Imaging Department are standing by to continue to serve all of our shared patients in the Saskatchewan Health Authority with all of their imaging needs. It is imperative now more than ever that we focus on appropriate utilization of our imaging resources.
Thank you for your consideration and please know that Bryan Witt and Dr. Wiebe are available to discuss this or any other imaging related issue by phone or email at Bryan.Witt@saskhealthauthority.ca or by phone 306-655-7518Sheldon.firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 306-655-2402.
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