Last Updated: Aug. 5, 2021
How to Get Your COVID-19 Test Results |SMS Text Message Consent |Legal Requirements for Adults or 18+ Not in School | Legal Requirements for Under 18 or 18+ Attending School|You Do Not Have To Self-Isolate If...|Positive Swab Test Result| Return to Work or School|Negative Swab Test Result|Indeterminate or Invalid Result| Re-testing Guidance| Types of COVID-19 Tests| Rapid Point-of-Care COVID-19 Testing| Blood Test for COVID-19 (serology test)
While you are awaiting your test results:
These are the next steps for after you have had a COVID-19 test in Alberta.
Albertans 14 years of age and older can access their COVID-19 lab test results in MyHealth Records. This is a secure Government of Alberta service that helps keep track of your health information. Register for a MyAlberta Digital ID to access MyHealth Records.
Access your Children’s Test Results on MyHealth Records - As of October 1, 2020
Parents can access their children’s COVID-19 test results in addition to their own results by signing up for your MyHealth Records account, at alberta.ca/myhealthrecords.
This feature allows parents and guardians to securely receive their child’s COVID-19 test results and print off the results for those who need them.
Autodialer & SMS
Albertans have the option to receive positive and negative COVID-19 test results over the phone through an autodialer system or by SMS text message.
You will be provided with the opportunity to consent to receive automated test results at the time of booking your COVID-19 test. If you do not consent to receive test results through autodialer or SMS, someone from AHS will call you directly to make sure you get your test results.
Parents/guardians can consent to receive automated test results for dependents aged 17 years and younger. Each individual test result will be delivered by a dedicated call or text. This means that multiple calls or texts may be delivered to a single number provided for a family unit.
All positive results will be followed up through a phone call from AHS Public Health.
Automated phone calls are delivered between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., seven days a week. SMS results are delivered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means you may receive your test result by SMS anytime within a 24 hour period, day or night.
The autodialer will make up to three attempts to deliver the test result by phone call. A voice message will be left on the third and final attempt if the call is still not answered.
Please note: to get your test results by autodialer you will need to remove any anonymous call-blocking settings from your phone so that the autodialer call comes through. Please also make sure you answer any anonymous calls and read anonymous texts from numbers that you do not recognize.
See SMS Text & Autodialer FAQ for more information.
You must isolate or quarantine if:
Why did I receive a text message from AHS?
AHS notifies people by text message to inform them of the following:
Why is AHS asking for my consent to send text messages to me?
When you book an appointment for your COVID-19 test, AHS will ask for your consent to receive your test result and other information about your health relating to COVID-19 (e.g., information about applicable isolation requirements) through text message or automated phone message. This ensures we are able to provide you the information you need, as quickly as possible.
What if I do not consent to receive text messages from AHS?
If you do not consent to receive your COVID-19 test result through text message or automated phone message, an AHS Public Health team member will call you directly to make sure you get your test results.
Symptoms of runny nose and sore throat have been removed from the mandatory isolation checklist for Albertans under 18, whether they are attending classes, day care or recreational activities as well as individuals 18 years and over attending high school.
Follow these steps immediately to help protect yourself and others around you.
If you have symptoms and your test result for COVID-19 is positive, you are legally required to isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started, regardless of whether or not you have been immunized for COVID-19.
If you have not had any symptoms, but your test is positive, you are legally required to isolate for 10 days from the date you were tested; this date will change if you develop symptoms. This applies regardless of whether or not you have been immunized for COVID-19.
See Isolation & Quarantine for more information on isolation supports.
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by phone by a member of AHS’ Public Health team for follow-up and support.
If you test positive for COVID-19, do not return to work until your legal isolation period is over, which is at least 10 days. This may be longer if you continue to experience symptoms.
If you receive an indeterminate or invalid result, we are sorry, but we are unable to accurately determine your test results from the sample provided. You need to get tested again. You must follow any isolation or federal quarantine directions you were given. To schedule a re-test, visit ahs.ca/testing.
If you test positive you are required to isolate. You should not be tested again during your isolation period. Testing negative does not mean you can end isolation early.
Based on current evidence, re-testing within 90 days of a positive test result is not recommended as long as you do not have symptoms. Some people continue to test positive for up to 90 days after their infection. This does not mean you are still infectious.
If you have new COVID-19 symptoms within 90 days of completing your required isolation period, please speak with your healthcare provider to discuss the need for re-testing.
If you have any questions, please speak with your healthcare provider or call Health Link at 811 to speak with a registered nurse.
There are different kinds of tests for COVID-19:
Viral test – these tests are done by collecting a swab, from your nose or throat, to look for the virus in different ways. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or nucleic acid test looks for the virus’ genetic material. An antigen test looks for proteins on the virus.
Antibody test (also called a serology test)– this is a blood test to look for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19
COVID-19 Assessment Centres and Other Settings
Rapid Point of Care Testing (POCT) is an important pillar of Alberta’s COVID-19 testing program, providing Albertans with faster, more convenient testing for the disease. POCT for COVID-19 is being used at select sites throughout the province, including COVID-19 assessment centres.
The tests are used for patients who are within the first seven days of exhibiting symptoms, enabling quick identification of cases. Testing may also be done in outbreak settings. The use of POCT undergoes regular review to determine where testing can provide greatest value for public health authorities to manage COVID-19.
If you are eligible and consent to receive a rapid POCT COVID-19 test at an assessment centre, two swabs will be collected at the time of your appointment, because some results will require additional testing by the lab.
The result notification process for POCT at assessment centres will depend on the consent you provided at the time of booking (e.g. SMS text or phone call):
Workplaces and Some Community Settings
Rapid POCT is also used to screen for potential COVID-19 infection in asymptomatic individuals. This is being done in several workplace settings across the province. Screening using rapid tests identifies some, but not all, pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. This type of identification can limit spread of the virus.
With these tests, a positive screening result requires immediate isolation and a second test by PCR is required to confirm the result.
If your POCT workplace or community asymptomatic screen result is negative, it is important to understand this this is a point-in-time result. It does not guarantee that you are not infected with COVID-19 or will not spread it to others. Continue to follow all public health guidance to help prevent the spread.
As of July 2, 2020, serology testing for COVID-19 is available primarily for assessing the number of people in Alberta that have of antibodies to COVID-19 and for research use. It will not be available for the general public.
Serology testing is done to determine whether you have had COVID-19 in the past, and now have antibodies against the virus.
A positive serology does NOT mean a patient is immune to COVID-19. At this time, there is a lack of evidence on whether having antibodies to COVID-19 means you are protected against reinfection with COVID-19 and if so, how long that protection would last. Ongoing studies will help reveal more information to answer these questions.