Overview

Isolation helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of people you could infect if you're sick. This means 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.
  • If you have symptoms, take the online assessment to arrange testing.

Quarantine is intended to limit potential spread from people who have been exposed to COVID-19 but have not yet developed symptoms or tested positive.

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.
  • 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 you spreading the virus to others while you are infectious.

When to isolate

  • 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

Who needs to isolate or quarantine

  • 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.

    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.

  • Close contact or household contact of a confirmed case

    As of July 29, you are no longer legally required to quarantine if you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

    If you are not fully immunized and have been exposed to COVID-19, we recommend you avoid high-risk locations such as continuing care facilities and crowded indoor spaces. If you develop symptoms, you must isolate and should get tested.

    If you are a household contact of a case of COVD-19 and you are not fully vaccinated, you should stay home for 14 days (i.e. not attend work, school or other activities).

  • International travellers

    • Alberta no longer has provincial quarantine requirements for international travellers.
    • Federal border measures and quarantine laws still apply for all international travellers entering Canada.
    • If you become sick with a known COVID-19 symptom, you must isolate for 10 days from the beginning of symptoms or until you are feeling well, whichever takes longer.

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 but need 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.
    • Household contacts who are not fully vaccinated should stay home for 14 days (i.e. not attend, work, school or other activities).
    • 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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