Changes to Alberta’s testing program

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Monitor your symptoms

Albertans should monitor their symptoms every day to help protect others and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If you are experiencing mild symptoms, you should not visit emergency departments seeking a test. Employers should also not ask you to provide a PCR test in order to receive time off of work.

You can use the Alberta Medical Association tool if you are unsure whether to talk to a doctor about your illness or when to seek immediate medical attention. Most people with mild illness do not need a test or a conversation with their doctor.

Core symptoms

If you have any of these core symptoms, you are legally required to isolate. If you test negative, you should still stay home and away from others until symptoms resolve.

Core and other symptoms apply to all COVID-19 strains and variants.

Adults over 18

  • cough
  • fever
  • shortness of breath
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • loss of taste or smell

Children under 18

  • cough
  • fever
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of sense of taste or smell

Other symptoms

Adults over 18

Any symptom: Stay home and limit contact with others until symptoms are gone. Testing is recommended.

  • Stuffy nose
  • Painful swallowing
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Feeling unwell or fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained loss of appetite
  • Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye

Children under 18

1 symptom: Stay home for 24 hours, get tested if symptoms don't improve.
2+ symptoms: Get tested and stay home until well or test is negative.

  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Painful swallowing
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Feeling unwell or fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained loss of appetite
  • Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye

Monitor your health and call Health Link 811 or your health care provider if you have questions or concerns. Call 911 immediately if experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19, including difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, feelings of confusion or loss of consciousness.

Get tested

Effective immediately, PCR tests will be available only for the following individuals:

  • Continuing care residents and health care workers and staff in acute and continuing care settings, shelters and correctional facilities who meet one or more of the following criteria:
    • Need confirmation of a positive rapid test on screening
    • Have COVID-19 symptoms
    • Are part of an outbreak investigation where public health has requested lab-PCR testing
  • Symptomatic household members of a person who works in continuing care or acute care.
  • People with symptoms who are pregnant.
  • Emergency department or hospital patients of all ages who meet one or more of the following criteria:
    • Inpatients who develop new COVID-19 symptoms while in hospital
    • Patients being admitted for symptoms consistent with COVID-19
    • Patients in the emergency department with respiratory illness where a test will change treatment plans
  • Symptomatic community patients who would be eligible for Sotrovimab (monoclonal antibody) treatment if positive:
    • Those who are not immunized and are:
      • 55 or older
      • 18 and older with one of the following health conditions: diabetes, obesity, chronic kidney disease, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or moderate-to-severe asthma
      • children aged 12 to 17, with referral by a pediatric I.D. specialist
    • Those who are immunosuppressed (transplant, active cancer or systemic immune treatment), regardless if immunized or not.
  • People from isolated and remote First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities and individuals travelling to these communities for work.
  • Asymptomatic continuing care residents returning/readmitted from other health care settings.
  • Pediatric and adult asymptomatic transplant donors and recipients, prior to transplant.
  • Pediatric and adult oncology patients, prior to commencing chemotherapy.
  • Newborns born to COVID-positive parents.
  • Returning international travellers who become symptomatic within 14 days after their arrival.

Book a PCR test

If you have symptoms you must stay home. Book your PCR test online or call Health Link 811.

Take the assessment / Book a PCR test

  • Rapid testing program

    At-home rapid testing

    Employers and service providers

    • Employers and service providers can apply to receive free rapid test kits for use in their organization’s COVID-19 screening program. Learn more.
  • Health care, shelter and enforcement personnel testing

    The following online assessment tool and flowchart are available for front-line workers:

  • Industry-initiated testing

    Guidelines and parameters are available for companies that want to request and pay for testing for their employees, contractors or clients. Public testing is a priority.

  • Wastewater monitoring

    • 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 complete wastewater surveillance data for the province can currently be viewed at University of Calgary's Center for Health Informatics' COVID-19 wastewater dashboard.

Get your results online

Access COVID-19 test results through MyHealth Records - a secure online service that helps keep track of your health information.

Get your results

Assess your severe illness risk

Some people have a higher risk of experiencing severe health outcomes, including hospitalization, intensive care or death.

Assess your risk

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