Isolation and quarantine recommendations have been simplified as of July 1, 2022, to be more consistent for all Albertans. People who have symptoms and/or tested positive, should:

  • isolate at home for 5 days from the start of symptoms
  • wear a mask for the next 5 days while in indoor spaces with other people

Why this is recommended

  • Isolation helps prevent the spread by reducing the number of people you could infect by staying home and avoiding others.
  • Quarantine limits potential spread from people who have been exposed to COVID-19 but have not yet developed symptoms or tested positive.

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Who should 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. Staying home lowers the chance of spreading the virus to others.

  • People with symptoms and/or tested positive

    Tested positive with symptoms

    • If you have COVID-19 symptoms and test positive you should:
      • isolate at home for 5 days from the start of symptoms
      • wear a mask for the next 5 days while in indoor spaces with other people

    Tested positive without symptoms

    • If you test positive but don't have symptoms, you should isolate and take a second test 24 hours later.
      • If the second test is negative - isolation can end unless you develop symptoms.
      • If the second test is positive:
        • isolate for at least 5 days or until symptoms have improved, if present, and you've been free of fever for 24 hours without the use of medication, whichever is longer
        • wear a mask for the next 5 days while in indoor spaces with other people

    Tested negative with symptoms

    • If you have symptoms and test negative, you should:
      • stay home and repeat the test after 24 hours
      • if both tests are negative, you should stay home until symptoms have improved and you have been free of fever (without use of medication) for 24 hours as you may have another virus that could be transmitted to others

    Do not have a test

    • If you don’t have a test, or choose not to be tested, you should stay home until your symptoms have improved and you feel well enough to resume normal activities.
  • Close contact or household contact of a confirmed case

    • Household members and other close contacts of people with COVID-19 should monitor themselves for symptoms for 7 days after their last exposure. Where possible, avoid close contact with vulnerable people.
      • Vulnerable people include the elderly and those with significant immunocompromising conditions. If it is necessary to interact with a vulnerable person during this time, take precautions such as wearing a mask.
      • Health-care workers who are household or close contacts of a person with COVID-19 should wear a medical mask during this time while they are at work.
  • International travellers

  • Returning to work or school

    • Isolation is recommended for Albertans who test positive or have core symptoms. Employers should not ask for proof of a PCR or rapid test or a medical note in order to receive time off work.
    • Proof of a negative COVID-19 test and/or a medical note is not required to return to school, work or activities once the recommended isolation period is complete.

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.

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