Overview

Isolating and quarantining help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of people you could infect if you're sick. Both require staying home and avoiding situations where the virus could spread.

Albertans are legally required to:

  • isolate for 10 days if you tested positive or have any core symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition
  • quarantine for 14 days if you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, or if you travelled outside Canada

If you have symptoms, take the online assessment to arrange testing

Need help?

  • Financial support is available if you're unable to work because you are sick, required to isolate, or are caring for someone in isolation.
  • Hotel rooms may be available if you can't isolate safely in your own home.
  • Translated resources are available in Af-Soomaali, Arabic, 中文, हिंदी, 한국어, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Español, Français, Tagalog, Tiếng Việt and Urdu. Or call 811 for help.

Why we need to isolate or quarantine

COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to cause symptoms. Some people who get it only have minor symptoms or don't have any symptoms at all but could still be infectious.

By staying home, it lowers the chance of symptoms developing while you're in a public place, which lowers the chance of spreading the virus to others.

When to isolate

Isolate to avoid spreading illness.

  • You tested positive for COVID-19.
  • You are sick with fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, sore throat* or runny nose* and have not been tested.

*Children under 18 are exempt from mandatory isolation for runny nose or sore throat, but should stay home until well.

When to quarantine

Quarantine and watch for symptoms to prevent exposing others before symptoms appear.

Who needs to isolate or quarantine

  • Isolation and quarantine requirements for vaccinated Albertans

    If you are fully-vaccinated* and are exposed to a COVID-19 case:

    • If you have no symptoms, you are not required to quarantine.
    • If you do have symptoms, you must isolate for 10 days and should get tested – your isolation can end early if you test negative.

    If you are partially vaccinated* and are exposed to a COVID-19 case:

    • If you have no symptoms, you must quarantine for 10 days and should get tested.
      • Your quarantine can end early if you test negative on day 7 or later.
      • If you test negative before day 7, you must remain in quarantine and need a second negative test on day 7 or later to end quarantine.
    • If you do have symptoms, you must isolate and should get tested.
      • If you test negative before day 7, you must continue to quarantine (10 days total from exposure date).
      • If you test negative on day 7 or later and your symptoms have resolved, your quarantine can end.

    *You are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving both doses in a 2-dose vaccine series, or 1 dose in a 1 dose vaccine series.
    You are considered partially vaccinated 14 days after receiving the first dose in a 2-dose vaccine series.

  • Albertans with core symptoms

    Adults over 18 are legally required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days if they have the following core symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition:

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

    Children under 18 are exempt from mandatory isolation for having a runny nose or sore throat, but should stay home until well. Children are required to isolate for at least 10 days if they have the following core symptoms:

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

    The mandatory isolation period is 10 days from the start of symptoms, or until symptoms resolve, whichever takes longer.

  • Tested positive for COVID-19

    Isolation period

    • You are legally required to isolate for 10 days minimum if you have tested positive for COVID-19.
    • Isolation period is for 10 days from the start of symptoms, or until symptoms resolve, whichever takes longer.

    Isolation hotels

    • If you're unable to safely isolate away from uninfected members of your household, call 211 to request a referral to stay in an isolation hotel free of charge. Financial supports are also available.
    • If a child is infected, consider moving other family members not required for child care to a hotel for their quarantine period.

    Return to work or school

    • Proof of a negative COVID-19 test and/or a medical note is not required to return to school, work or activities once the isolation period is complete.
  • Have symptoms but tested negative for COVID-19
    • If you tested negative and have known exposure to COVID-19, you are legally required to quarantine for 14 days.
    • If you tested negative and have no known exposure to the virus, you are not legally required to quarantine, but you should stay home until your symptoms resolve so you don't infect others.
  • Household close contacts of confirmed cases

    If you live with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you are legally required to quarantine and monitor for symptoms.

    COVID-19 variants of concern make up the majority of cases in Alberta. It is strongly recommended that, when possible, all cases of COVID-19, whether a variant of concern or not, isolate completely away from their household members to prevent ongoing exposure.

    Quarantine period for household contacts of any COVID-19 case (variant of concern or not)

    • 14 days from day of last exposure if the infected person isolates with a separate bedroom and bathroom, or if the infected person isolates at a separate location, such as a hotel or different home
    • up to 24 days if the infected person does not isolate with a separate bedroom and bathroom
      • during the number of days the infected person was isolating (10 days from start of symptoms or from their test date if they had no symptoms)
      • plus 14 days for the incubation period in which you could get sick
    • If you have been vaccinated and are required to quarantine, see isolation and quarantine requirements for vaccinated Albertans.

    Get tested

    • Get tested if you are a household contact of a confirmed case even if you don't have symptoms:
      • Book a test as soon as you receive confirmation that you are a household close contact of someone who tested positive.
      • Book a second test if you test negative but start to feel symptoms anytime during the 14 day quarantine.

    If you get sick

    • If you become sick with a known COVID-19 symptom during this time, you must isolate for an additional 10 days from the beginning of symptoms or until you are feeling well, whichever takes longer.
  • Close contacts of confirmed cases

    A close contact of a person infected with COVID-19 is someone who:

    • provides care or has close physical contact without appropriate use of personal protective equipment
    • comes into direct contact with infectious body fluids
    • comes within 2 metres of them for more than 15 minutes

    Quarantine period

    Get tested

    • Get tested if you are a close contact of a confirmed case even if you don't have symptoms:
      • Book a test as soon as you receive confirmation that you are a close contact of someone who tested positive
      • Book a second test if you test negative but feel symptoms anytime during the 14 day quarantine

    If you get sick

    • If you become sick with a known COVID-19 symptom during this time, you must isolate for an additional 10 days from the beginning of symptoms or until you are feeling well, whichever takes longer.
  • International travellers
    • You are legally required to quarantine for 14 days if you return to or enter Alberta from outside Canada, even if you have been vaccinated.
    • If you become sick with a known COVID-19 symptom during this time, you must isolate for an additional 10 days from the beginning of symptoms or until you are feeling well, whichever takes longer.

Get help to isolate or quarantine

Financial support is available if you're unable to work because you are sick, required to isolate, or are caring for someone in isolation. See all programs.

Free hotel rooms are available for people who must isolate or quarantine but cannot do so safely in their own homes.

  • Staying in a hotel room allows you to safely self-isolate or quarantine without exposing other household members to COVID-19.
  • Alberta Health Services will review requests on a case-by-case basis to determine if additional supports are required to support isolation.
  • Adults who complete hotel isolation may be eligible for $625 upon completion of their stay.
  • Call 211 if you need to access isolation hotels.

Learn more about isolating at a designated hotel

Mandatory restrictions

These restrictions must be followed if you are in mandatory isolation or quarantine.

  • Stay home – do not leave your home or attend work, school, social events or any other public gatherings.
  • Avoid close contact with people in your household, especially seniors and people with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Do not take public transportation like buses, taxis or ride-sharing - this is prohibited.
  • Do not go outside for a walk through your neighbourhood or park. This includes children in mandatory isolation or quarantine.
  • Do not use elevators or stairwells if you live in an apartment building or highrise, you must stay inside your unit. If your balcony is private and at least 2 metres away from your closest neighbour's, you may go outside on the balcony.
  • Get fresh air in your backyard, if you have one, but you must remain on private property not accessible by others.

This directive is consistent with federal requirements under the Quarantine Act.

Leaving isolation for emergency care

If you are in mandatory isolation or quarantine needs to leave home to receive COVID-19 testing, emergency care, or critical care for pre-existing medical conditions, follow the rules in the exemption orders carefully:

  • pre-arrange your appointment and leave your isolation area only on the date and at the time of your appointment
  • follow all instructions provided by 811 or health-care providers
  • use private transportation where practical
  • maintain physical distance from others when shared transportation is necessary – travel directly to your appointment with no stops
  • follow instructions provided by 911 if you require emergency care

Read the exemption orders for more information:

How to prepare

  • Create a household action plan

    Talk with the people who need to be included in your plan.

    • Discuss what to do if a case occurs in your household and what the needs of each person will be with your household members, family and friends.
    • Plan ways to care for those at greater risk of serious complications, such as ensuring you have sufficient medication, and determining what supplies are needed and how they can be delivered.
    • Talk with your neighbours about emergency planning.
    • Create a list of local organizations you can contact if you need access to information, health-care services, support or resources.
    • Create an emergency contact list.
  • Prepare a space
    • Choose a room in your home you can use to separate sick household members from healthy ones.
    • Choose a separate bathroom for sick individuals to use, if possible.
    • Plan to clean these rooms as needed when someone is sick.
    • Have 72 hours’ worth of food and supplies at home. We do not recommend stockpiling goods.
  • Getting food and supplies
    • Use delivery services for errands like grocery shopping. If delivery is not available, use contactless curbside pick-up options. Stay in your vehicle at all times and wear a mask.
    • Ask friends or family to drop off food, medicine and other supplies.
  • Don’t share household items
    • Don’t share household items like dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels and pillows.
    • After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water, place in the dishwasher for cleaning, or wash in the washing machine.
    • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and counters.
  • Wash your hands
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available and if your hands are not visibly dirty.
    • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
    • Throw used tissues in the garbage and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Enforcement

If you violate a public health order:

  • you may be subject to a $2,000 fine
  • you can be prosecuted for up to $100,000 for a first offence
  • you may get a ticket at the time of an incident or post-infraction – someone who isn’t charged immediately may receive a ticket after authorities do further investigation

Unpaid fines are backstopped with fine collection actions and restrictions on registry services. You may have to pay your outstanding fine before you can renew your driver’s licence. Repeat offenders will be targeted with a new multi-agency enforcement framework.

If you are concerned someone is not following public health orders, you can:

  • remind them that not following orders is against the law and puts people at risk
  • request service from AHS public health inspectors online or call 1-833-415-9179

Submit a request online