Advice for People Tested for COVID-19


Last Updated: June 30, 2022

While Waiting for Test Results |How to Get Test Results |SMS Text Message Consent |Positive Test Result| Return to Work or School|Negative Test Result|Indeterminate or Invalid Result| Re-Testing Advice| Types of Tests| Rapid Antigen Tests| Rapid Antigen Test(Rapid Point-of-Care Tests)| Blood Test (Serology Test)

While Waiting for Test Results

  • If you have symptoms, you are recommended to stay at home and away from others.
  • If you have returned to Canada after travel and are waiting for your COVID-19 test results, you are required to follow Government of Canada rules.

How to Get Your COVID-19 Test Results

MyHealth Records

Albertans 14 years of age and older can get their COVID-19 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

Parents can get their children’s COVID-19 test results by signing up for a MyHealth Records account, at

  1. Parents: you will need to use your child’s personal health number and test date to get your child’s COVID-19 test results (within the last 30 days).
  2. Test results can be printed.

Autodialer & SMS Text Messages

Albertans can choose to get their COVID-19 test results over the phone through an autodialer system or by SMS text message.

You will be asked to consent to receive automated test results when you book your COVID-19 test. If you do not consent to receive test results through autodialer or SMS, someone from Alberta Health Services (AHS) will call you to tell you your test results.

Parents or guardians can give consent to get automated test results for children aged 17 years and younger. Each test result will be given by a phone call or text message. This means that multiple calls or texts may be sent to a single number provided for a family unit.


You could be called by an automated phone call any time between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., 7 days a week. SMS results are sent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means you may get your test result by SMS anytime within a 24 hour period, day or night.

Call Attempts

The autodialer will try calling you up to three times to give you your test results. 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 your phone can accept the call. Please also make sure you answer any anonymous calls and read texts from numbers that you do not recognize.

See SMS Text & Autodialer FAQ for more information.

SMS Text Message Consent

Why did I receive a text message from AHS?

AHS notifies people by text message to tell them their COVID-19 test result.

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 tell you about your test result by text message or automated phone message. This ensures we give 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 to make sure you get your test results.

If You Have a Positive Test Result

Follow these steps right away to help protect yourself and others around you.

Step 1: You are Recommended to Isolate

We recommend isolation right away for at least 5 days. Isolation is no longer mandatory in Alberta, but continues to be important for controlling the spread of COVID-19 in our province.

To further reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 to others, you are recommended to wear a mask while indoors and around other people. You should wear a mask for 10 days after your symptoms start.

See Isolation & Quarantine for more information.

Step 2: Identify Close Contacts

Identify and tell your household and close contacts that you have COVID-19. They should monitor for symptoms and use this COVID-19 Assessment & Testing Tool to help them decide if they should talk to someone about their symptoms or test for COVID-19.

Rapid antigen tests are available for free at participating pharmacies. Find a pharmacy near you.

Find out if you qualify for PCR testing at an AHS Assessment Centre.

For more information on how to determine who is a close contact, and what is recommended for them, visit Information for Close Contacts.

If your test is positive and you have returned from travel outside of Canada, you must continue to follow all mandatory federal quarantine and testing requirements.

Step 3: Get Informed

AHS will call people who tested positive for COVID-19 at an AHS facility, and who are part of the following priority groups to complete case investigation:

  • Patients in hospital
  • Residents and staff of congregate care settings (long term care, designated supportive living, lodges, hospices)
  • Healthcare workers
  • Residents and staff of congregate living settings (corrections, shelters)

If you have not consented to receive SMS text message or autodialer notifications from AHS, a member of the Public Health team will call you to tell you your test results.

Return to Work or School

If you test positive for COVID-19, you shouldn't return to work or school until your recommended isolation period is over, which is at least 5 days. This may be longer if you continue to experience symptoms.

A negative COVID-19 test, medical note, or release from isolation message from AHS are not required to return to school, work or activities once your isolation period is over. Find more information on who needs to isolate on the Government of Alberta website.

If You Have a Negative Test Result

  • If you have any symptoms, you should stay home until you feel better.
  • If your test is negative and you have returned from travel outside of Canada, you must continue to follow all mandatory federal quarantine and testing requirements.
  • Your test result is for that point in time only. It doesn’t tell you if you have had COVID-19 before.
  • Continue to follow all public health measures, wash your hands carefully and often and monitor yourself for symptoms.
  • If you develop new symptoms after your test, or if you develop new symptoms in the future, stay at home and away from others and use the COVID-19 self-assessment online to help you decide if you should talk to someone about your symptoms, or if you should get tested again.
  • AHS, Covenant Health and Alberta Precision Labs employees can refer to COVID-19 Return to Work Guide for AHS Healthcare Workers for instructions.

Indeterminate or Invalid Result

If we tell you that your COVID-19 result is indeterminate or invalid, we are sorry, but we are not able to accurately determine your test results. You need to get tested again. You should follow any isolation or federal quarantine directions you were given. Book another test.

Re-testing Advice

If you test positive you should isolate. You should not be tested again during your isolation period.

Re-testing within 90 days of a COVID-19 infection using a molecular test (e.g. PCR) is not recommended as long as you do not have new 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 recommended isolation period, please speak with your healthcare provider if you have questions or call Health Link at 811 to speak with a registered nurse.

If you tested positive for COVID-19 on an at-home Rapid Antigen Test within 21 days of testing positive from a molecular test and have already completed your isolation you are not recommended to isolate again. If you develop new symptoms after completing your isolation AND it is within this time period, you are recommended to stay home until symptoms resolve.

Types of COVID-19 Tests

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.

Antibody test (also called a serology test) – this is a blood test to look for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. These tests are not for the general public.

Rapid Antigen Tests (aka At-Home Rapid Tests)

Albertans can get free COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kits for at-home use through the Government of Alberta. They are available at select AHS sites and pharmacies across the province, as well as through some workplaces and schools.

Rapid tests are intended for at-home personal use for screening in symptomatic and asymptomatic people.

This can help identify infections early to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

To ensure molecular testing is available to those who need it most, only people at high risk of severe outcomes or who work in high-risk settings need to book a follow-up molecular test if they get a positive result on a rapid antigen test. For more information, see Rapid Testing at Home.

A rapid antigen test looks for a protein from the virus that causes COVID-19, and is a simple test that does not require specialized equipment and can produce a result in as little as 15 minutes.

Screening using rapid antigen tests identifies some, but not all COVID-19 cases.

Rapid Point-of-Care-Tests

In AHS COVID-19 assessment centres, rapid point-of-care (POC) tests are used for people who have symptoms, to quickly identify cases. In the community, rapid POC testing may also be done in outbreak settings on patients with or without symptoms.

Rapid point-of-care tests are molecular tests, which look for the genetic material of the virus that causes COVID-19.

How you get your test results will depend on the consent you gave when you booked your test (e.g. SMS text or phone call). Follow the instructions below based on your result:

Blood Test for COVID-19 (serology test)

Serology testing for COVID-19 is used mostly to assess the number of people in Alberta that have antibodies to COVID-19 for research or specific medical reasons. It is not available for the general public.

Serology testing cannot be used to diagnose a current COVID-19 infection and is not used to determine immunity from a COVID-19 vaccine.