March 16, 2020
COVID-19 Safety Precautions at Insight
With direction given by the Alberta Chief Medical Officer, and to ensure the safety of our patients and employees, we have initiated specific safety precautions at all Insight Medical Imaging locations.
To help maintain the health of our facilities, we ask that all patients who meet the following criteria, rebook their appointment immediately:
- Have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Have a cough or cold/flu-like symptoms
- Have traveled outside the country within the last 14 days
Appointments can be rescheduled by calling our Patient Care Centre at 780-669-2222.
All Insight Medical Imaging locations will have signs posted outside each facility, reiterating the above conditions. We ask that all clinic visitors read the signage and adhere to the guidelines.
When you enter any of our clinics, an Insight employee wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) will greet you immediately. This PPE equipment includes gloves, goggles, masks, and a gown. Please do not be alarmed. This individual will help assess exam urgency and provide you with further instructions.
Purpose of Medical Masks
As stated by Alberta Health Services, masks are very important for specific situations. When someone is sick, wearing a mask helps prevent the transmission of illnesses to other people.
Traditionally, we would provide any patients who have a cough or cold/flu symptoms with a mask for their appointment. However, since COVID-19 is spreading so rapidly, we are now temporarily restricting access to our clinics, only imaging asymptomatic patients who meet our guidelines stated above. This helps keep a clean work environment for everyone inside our facility, especially elderly or immunocompromised individuals.
Please note, if you are not symptomatic, we will not give you a mask. As Alberta Health Services states, “if you are healthy, medical masks are not recommended as they don’t provide full protection and can create a false sense of security.”
Understand that the safety of our employees and our patients is our top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. As this is an ever-changing matter, we have a dedicated team in place monitoring recommendations made by appropriate organizations. Our team has been following recommendations from Alberta Health Services (AHS), World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR), the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) and Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer.
As the situation progresses, our standards and requirements are subject to change based on updates from the government and the health organizations listed above.
However, one standard that will not change is our dedication to patient care. We will continue to work with our patients, referring physicians, and fellow employees throughout this challenging time.
If you have any questions or concerns about your appointment, please contact our Patient Care Centre at 780-669-2222. For more information about the virus, resources, and frequently asked questions, please see below.
FAQ’s Provided by AHS & the WHO
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that may cause respiratory illness in people ranging from the common cold to more severe pneumonias. These viruses are zoonotic and can be transmitted between animals and humans.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the new strain of the coronavirus not previously identified in humans. The outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms for COVID-19 are similar to those for influenza or other respiratory illnesses. The most common symptoms include:
- extreme tiredness
- Most people (about 80%) recover from this disease without needing special treatment. However, it can cause serious illness. Those who are older, and those with other medical problems are more likely to develop serious illness, which can include difficulty breathing or pneumonia. There is a risk of death in severe cases. While we are still learning about how COVID-19 affects people, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.
How is COVID-19 spread from person-to-person?
COVID-19 is believed to be spread mainly by coughing, sneezing or direct contact with a sick person or with surfaces they have recently touched.
Should I wear a mask to protect myself?
Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19. Disposable face masks can only be used once. If you are not ill or looking after someone who is ill then you are wasting a mask. There is a world-wide shortage of masks, so WHO urges people to use masks wisely. WHO advises the rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of precious resources and misuse of masks. The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.
Who should be assessed for COVID-19?
People who develop a fever and/or cough or difficulty breathing should be assessed for COVID-19 if, within 14 days before symptoms began, they meet any of the following criteria:
- Traveled anywhere outside of Canada.
- Had close contact* with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.
- Had laboratory exposure to biological material (e.g. primary clinical specimens, virus culture isolates) known to contain COVID-19 virus.
- Had close contact* with a person with acute respiratory illness who has traveled anywhere outside of Canada within the last 14 days before their illness.
Anyone meeting these criteria should avoid contact with others and call Health Link (811) for advice.
*Close Contact* is defined as a person who:
- Provided care for the individual, including healthcare workers, family members or other caregivers, or who had other similar close physical contact with the person without consistent and appropriate use of personal protective equipment
- Lived with or otherwise had prolonged close contact (within 2 meters) with the person while the person was infectious
- Had direct contact with infectious bodily fluids of the person (e.g. was coughed or sneezed on) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.
What should I do if I have COVID-19?
Stay home and call Health Link 811 for advice.
If you are not seriously ill, do not go to a physician’s office, a health care facility or a lab without consulting with Health Link first.
Call 911 if you are seriously ill and need immediate medical attention and inform them that you may have COVID-19
What does self-isolation mean?
Self-isolation means avoiding situations where you could infect other people. This means all situations where you may come in contact with others, such as social gatherings, work, school, child care, athletic events, university, faith-based gatherings, healthcare facilities, grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls, and all public gatherings.
- You should (where possible) not use public transportation, including buses, taxis, or ride-sharing.
- As much as possible, you should limit contact with people other than the family members/companions who you traveled with.
- You should avoid having visitors to your home, but it is okay for friends, family, or delivery drivers to drop off food.
- You can also use delivery or pick up services for errands such as grocery shopping.
- Avoid sharing household items such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows, or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water, place in the dishwasher for cleaning, or wash in the washing machine.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water and regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched and shared surfaces such as doorknobs and counters.
- If you need to leave your home for an urgent errand, such as picking up essential medication, as a precaution to reduce the risk of spread, you should wear a surgical mask while you are out.
- During this time, it is important that you monitor your health for symptoms like fever or cough and call Health Link 811 if you have any concerns.
How is COVID-19 treated?
Although there are no specific medications for COVID-19 at this time, the Alberta health care system is able to provide effective care for people who develop a serious COVID-19 illness.
Are there vaccines to prevent COVID-19?
Not yet. Much research is currently underway to develop a vaccine, but it could take some time before a vaccine is developed and approved for use in Canada.
Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating COVID-19?
No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses; they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection.
Who is most at risk of becoming very sick with COVID-19?
Although most people who develop COVID-19 will experience mild illness, some individuals are more likely to become seriously ill. Older adults and people with medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease appear to be at higher risk of becoming very sick.
Additional COVID-19 Resources and Information
- World Health Organization (WHO): Coronaviruses (COVID-19) Q&A
- Government of Canada: COVID-19 Updates, Travel Advice, Symptoms, & More
- Alberta Health Services: Novel Coronavirus Updates, Latest News & Info For Albertans
- Health Link 24/7: Contact Info
- AHS Emergency Coordination Centre. (2020). Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for the public. Retrieved from https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/ppih/if-ppih-ncov-2019-public-faq.pdf
- World Health Organization. (2020). Q&A on Coronavirus (COVID-19). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses