Patients with fever and low lymphocytes in COVID-19 areas are highly recommended to get low dose chest CT scans.
According to an article in the German Medical Journal “Deutsches Ärzteblatt Jg.117 Heft 14 3. April 2020” the Munich Hospital Rechts der Isar started a new and simple scheme for COVID-19 detection: Patients with a history of fever or temperature >37.3°C / 99.1°F and a lymphocyte count <1,1 G/L get an immediate low-dose chest CT scan. This procedure is referenced to the “Therapeutic and triage strategies for 2019 novel coronavirus disease in fever clinics published recently in Lancet online at https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanres/PIIS2213-2600(20)30114-4.pdf“.
The sensitivity of laboratory PCR tests is low according to the study and laboratory results may last for up to 3 days. A chest CT scan takes a few minutes, and the result is available shortly later. Any detected viral pneumonia in a chest CT scan indicates a COVID-19 infection after exclusion of influenza or RSV. Chest CT scans shall be typically acquired in low dose technique without contrast agent with a slice thickness of 3-7 mm.