Overview

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 you can call 811 for help.

Why we need to isolate or quarantine

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.

COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to cause symptoms. Some people who get it only have minor symptom 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, 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.

  • You had close contact with a person who has COVID-19.
  • You returned from travel outside of Canada.

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

    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

    COVID-19

    • 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.
    • 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.

    Variant COVID-19

    • AHS will call you if you are confirmed to be positive for a variant strain of COVID-19.
    • Isolating in the same household is not considered adequate to prevent transmission of variant COVID-19 to other people in the household.
    • If you are confirmed to have a case of variant COVID-19, you should isolate in a different location if possible, such as an isolation hotel.
    • If the case is a child, consider moving other family members not required for child care to a hotel for their quarantine period.
    • Call 211 if you need to access isolation hotels.
       
  • 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.
  • 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

    COVID-19

    • You are legally required to quarantine for 14 days from the time you were exposed and monitor for symptoms if you are a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
    • You should book a test if you are notified you are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19.
    • 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.

    Variant COVID-19

    • You are legally required to quarantine for 14 days from the time you were exposed and monitor for symptoms if you are a close contact of a person who tested positive for variant COVID-19.
    • You should get tested if you are a close contact of a confirmed case of variant COVID-19.
    • Book a first test as soon as you receive confirmation that you are a close contact of someone who tested positive.
    • Book a second test 10 days or later after your last exposure to the confirmed case.
  • Household close contacts of confirmed cases
    • You are legally required to quarantine for 14 days from the time you were exposed and monitor for symptoms if you are a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

    For household close contacts living with a regular COVID-19 case:

    • If the case is isolating at home in a separate room with access to a separate bathroom, household close contacts can start their quarantine period the day the case started isolating.
    • If the case is unable to isolate in a separate room, every day the case is isolating at home is considered a new exposure. Household contacts must quarantine during the case’s isolation period (10 days) plus an additional 14 days after the case’s isolation period ends.

    For household close contacts living with a variant COVID-19 case:

    • Even if the case can isolate at home in a separate room with access to a separate bathroom, this is may not be enough to prevent transmission to other members of the household. Every day the case is isolating at home is considered a new exposure to the household contacts.
    • Household contacts of variant cases must quarantine during the case’s isolation period (10 days) plus an additional 14 days after the case’s isolation period ends.
    • Call 211 if you need to access isolation hotels.
  • International travellers
    • You are legally required to quarantine for 14 days if you return to or enter Alberta from outside Canada.
    • 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 or pick-up services for errands like grocery shopping.
    • 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 $1,000 fine. Additionally, you can be prosecuted for up to $100,000 for a first offense.

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