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COVID-19 info for Albertans

Alberta is learning to live with COVID-19 while protecting the health care system and increasing vaccination rates.

Current situation

All remaining mandatory public health restrictions were lifted on June 14, 2022.

Cases in Alberta

Due to technical difficulties, COVID-19 data reporting was unavailable Wednesday, March 22. We are working to post the data as soon as possible.

  • 629,648 Total cases
  • 388 Cases reported over 7 days
  • 9,998,877 Vaccine doses as of March 13
  • 486 In hospital
  • 11 In intensive care*
  • 5,619 Deaths

Updated March 15. Numbers are current as of end-of-day March 13. Case numbers are updated every Wednesday.
*ICU cases are a subset of those in hospital.

Prevent the spread

  • Get vaccinated to prevent COVID-19

    • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and help prevent you from getting infected and protect you from getting severely sick if you do get it.
    • Albertans 6 months and older can get vaccinated now.
    • Bivalent vaccine boosters for Albertans 5 years and older are available now. The bivalent vaccine triggers a stronger immune response and provides additional protection against both Omicron and the original SARS-CoV-2 virus strain.
    • Working Albertans can access 3 hours of paid, job-protected leave to get each dose of the vaccine.

    Learn more: Vaccines, boosters and records with QR codes

  • Get vaccinated to prevent Influenza

    Why get an influenza vaccine

    An influenza vaccine (flu shot) won’t prevent COVID-19 but it will reduce your chances of getting sick with influenza (flu) or spreading it to others.

    All Albertans 6 months and older are encouraged to get an influenza vaccine. It’s especially important for seniors, pregnant women, Indigenous Peoples and people with chronic health conditions as they have a higher risk of severe complications.

    By keeping influenza counts low, we can:

    • help prevent people from being infected with COVID-19 and influenza at the same time
    • make sure our health-care system has capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic
    • let health-care workers focus on treating people with other illnesses and injuries
    • reduce outbreaks in care facilities

    The vaccine is available free of charge starting October 18.

    Where to get an influenza vaccine

    • Alberta Health Services (AHS) public health clinics/sites for individuals 6 months to 4 years (and their families).
    • Some doctors’ offices for individuals 6 months old and older.
    • Participating pharmacies if 5 years old or older.

    How to book

    Book online (pharmacy is recommended or AHS clinic) 

    • Many pharmacies are also accepting walk-in appointments. If your local pharmacy is not listed in the booking system, contact them directly or find a pharmacy near you.
    • Some community medical clinics are also offering influenza vaccine and can be contacted directly.
    • COVID-19 boosters will be offered with each influenza vaccine appointment. A separate COVID-19 appointment is not needed.
    • Arrive as close to the appointment time as you can.
    • Stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19
    • Staff and volunteers at clinics and venues offering influenza immunization must follow their employers' policies for COVID-19 and may include requiring you to wear a mask.
  • Practice good hygiene

    In addition to getting vaccinated and staying home when sick, practicing good hygiene habits can protect you and those around you from spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses:

    • stay home if you are feeling sick
    • wash or sanitize your hands often
    • cover your coughs and sneezes
    • avoid touching your face
  • Isolate when sick

    When to isolate

    Isolation helps prevent the spread by reducing the number of people you could infect by staying home and avoiding others. Isolation recommendations are changing as of April 1, 2023:

    • If you have respiratory virus symptoms or test positive for any respiratory illness you should stay home until your symptoms have improved and you feel better, to minimize the risk of transmission.
      • It is recommended that you wear a mask in indoor settings for a total of 10 days from when your symptoms started, especially when around individuals who are high risk (for example, when visiting a continuing care facility or hospital).
    • Hospitalized patients or residents in congregate care facilities or living sites should follow isolation recommendations directed by AHS Infection Prevention and Control and/or the facility.

    Isolation for health care workers

    • People working in an AHS or Covenant Health settings should follow the AHS or Covenant Health Attending Work Directive.
    • Other health care workers who test positive on a COVID-19 rapid test should stay at home for a minimum of 5 days from the start of symptoms or until symptoms are improving and the health care worker is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication, whichever is longer.
      • They should wear a mask after returning to work in indoor work settings for a total of 10 days from the start of symptoms.
  • How it spreads

    COVID-19 is transmitted though tiny droplets of liquid produced by people who have the virus. The virus spreads by:

    • breathing in air that contains infected droplets from people coughing, sneezing, talking, laughing, and singing
    • touching objects or surfaces the virus has landed on and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth (bath towels, kitchen utensils, door knobs, etc.)

    People who have COVID-19 can spread it to others before they start to feel sick.

    COVID-19 does not appear to regularly transmit like measles through long-range transmission, but there are circumstances that raise the risk of aerosol transmission, such as crowded or poorly ventilated indoor spaces where people are engaging in activities like singing or high intensity exercise. Individuals and businesses should apply mitigation strategies where these risks exist.

    We think the virus generally only survives for a few hours on a surface or object, but it may be possible for it to survive several days under some conditions.

  • Variants of concern

    Variants of concern may spread more easily, cause more severe illness, require different treatments, affect the reliability of diagnostic tests, or have reduced vaccine effectiveness.

    Alberta is monitoring for variants of concern. The B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant is the dominant strain in our province.

    Symptoms in variant cases are so far reported to be the same as the original virus, including cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, and sore throat.

    Learn more about COVID-19 variants

Symptoms and testing

  • Symptoms

    COVID-19 can cause a wide range of symptoms that can be mild to severe. You should isolate at home if you have any of the following symptoms:

    • fever or chills
    • runny or stuffy nose
    • sore throat
    • cough
    • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • nausea or diarrhea
    • loss or altered sense of taste/smell

    Headache, fatigue and joint or muscle pain are also common symptoms of COVID-19. Many of these symptoms can also be caused by other viruses. 

    If you feel unwell you should stay home regardless of whether you have tested positive for COVID-19 or not.

  • Rapid testing

    Where to get test kits

    All Albertans can get free COVID-19 rapid testing kits for at-home use at participating pharmacies across the province.

    Find a pharmacy offering rapid test kits near you.

    How to test

    Because it takes time for your body to develop enough protein to be detectable by a rapid test after being exposed to COVID-19, each kit contains 5 rapid tests. Repeated screening can help detect infection as soon as possible.

    These tests work best when used for people who have symptoms. It is no longer recommended to use a rapid antigen test on someone who does not have any symptoms of respiratory illness.

    If your test result does not match either the negative or the positive examples on the procedure card, re-test until you receive a positive or negative result.

    Documenting and sharing your test result

    You may want to document your positive rapid test result in case you need to share the results with someone.

    To make this easier, complete the following form and share it along with a picture of the rapid test result with whomever you need to.

  • Molecular (PCR) testing

    As Alberta continues to transition to an endemic approach to managing COVID-19, AHS Assessment Centers will close on March 31, 2023.

    Starting April 1, 2023, PCR testing will be available only for: 

    • people at risk of severe outcomes if required to support their clinical care
    • those living in specific high-risk settings for outbreak management purposes

    Your health care provider will determine the best testing option.

    If you are eligible for outpatient treatment and do not have a health care provider, or are unable to book an appointment, call AHS Health Link at 1-844-343-0971.

  • Wastewater surveillance

    • Wastewater monitoring is one of many tools in understanding the overall burden of infection in a community, and provides a broad picture of infection in a community.
    • The Alberta Wastewater Surveillance Program is a collaboration between the University of Calgary, University of Alberta, Alberta Precision Laboratories, and Alberta Health.
    • The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been demonstrated to be present in the feces of a significant proportion of infected individuals, and individuals infected with COVID-19 may pass the virus in their feces before they become asymptomatic. As such, wastewater can provide an early indication of infection trends in a community.
    • The wastewater surveillance data for the province can be viewed on the Alberta COVID-19 data dashboard.
  • Caring for someone with COVID-19

    • If you have mild symptoms, follow advice on how to care for yourself and others at home. Do not visit an emergency department for a PCR test. Most people with mild illness do not need a test or a conversation with their doctor.
    • If you have severe symptoms, call 911 immediately if you experience difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, feelings of confusion, or loss of consciousness.
    • If you're unsure when to seek medical attention, use the Alberta Medical Association assessment tool or call Health Link 811 for advice.

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