COVID-19 info for Albertans & Health Professionals and about Family Support & Visitation.

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Advice for People Tested for COVID-19

novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated June 18, 2020

All Albertans are eligible for COVID-19 testing, free of charge.

Complete the online assessment and book your test online today. 

Thank you for getting tested for COVID-19.  Whether you have received your results, or are waiting, here is the information you need.

The COVID-19 test detects if the virus is in your nose or throat. It is important that you understand what to do while you await your tests results, and what it means if your COVID-19 test is positive or negative.

You are legally required to self-isolate if...| You do not have to self-isolate if...| If You Have a Positive Test Result| If You Have a Negative Test Result| Negative Results delivered by COVID-19 Autodialer

You are legally required to self-isolate if:

  • you test positive for COVID-19. 
  • you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat that is not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition. 
  • you have been in contact in the last 14 days with someone known to have COVID-19.
  • you have travelled outside Canada within the last 14 days.
  • see self isolation guidelines.

You do not have to self-isolate if:

  • you have no symptoms of illness, and you have not been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19 and you have not travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days.
  • you are waiting for results and you did not have symptoms when you were tested and do not have any now
  • you have symptoms of illness that are related to a pre-existing illness or health condition, and are not new.
  • you have tested negative for COVID-19 and have no symptoms of illness and have had no contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • you have tested negative for COVID-19 and have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat that is related to a pre-existing illness or health condition. We do always suggest you stay home when sick with any illness, until symptoms resolve; however, if your COVID test is negative, this is not legally required.

If You Have a Positive Test Result

  • If you have/had symptoms and your test result for COVID-19 is positive, you are legally required to self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started and until symptoms are gone (whichever is longer).
  • If you have not had any symptoms, but your test is positive, you are legally required to self-isolate for 10 days from the date you were tested; this date will change if you develop symptoms during this 10 day period. You will be given instructions by Public Health.
    • Self-isolation helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 by lowering the chance the virus could spread to others.
    • You must stay at home – don’t leave your home or attend work, school, social events or any other public gatherings
    • Avoid close contact with other people, including household members, and especially seniors and people with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems
    • Wash your hands often and thoroughly, cover your cough and sneezes, avoid sharing household items and clean and disinfect frequently touched and shared surfaces.
    • You will be contacted by Public Health for information and instructions.
  • Health care workers (HCWs)* have additional requirements and may not work in any health care setting until 14 days have passed since symptom onset and symptoms have resolved (whichever is longer)

*HCWs includes individuals who provide service in a clinical care setting, including hospitals, clinics, continuing care facilities, licensed supportive living sites, public health centres, community assessment centres, and any other settings where face-to-face patient care (including fire fighters and EMS) is provided.

If You Have a Negative Test Result

  • If you do not have symptoms of illness, AND have not been in contact with a known case of COVID-19 OR have not returned from travel outside of Canada within the last 14 days, you do not need to self-isolate. Continue to follow good respiratory etiquette and good hand hygiene, and practice physical distancing.
  • If your test result was negative and you now have new symptoms of illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat or runny nose) not related to a pre-existing condition, you are required to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days.
    • The mandatory isolation period is 10 days from the start of symptoms, or until symptoms resolve, whichever takes longer.
    • Remember: your test result is for that point in time only.  It doesn’t tell you if you have had COVID-19 before, and it doesn’t predict if you will get it in the future.  You’ll need to continue to follow all public health measures, such as physical distancing and hand hygiene, even if your test is negative. If you develop new symptoms, please self-isolate and take the COVID-19 self-assessment online again, or call Health Link at 811 for additional advice.
  • If your test is negative but you have been in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 or you have returned from travel outside of Canada you must still self-isolate for the full 14 days from your last contact with the person who is positive or from your return to Canada.
  • AHS, Covenant Health and Alberta Precision Labs employees can refer to COVID-19 Return to Work Guide for AHS Healthcare Workers for further instructions

Negative Results delivered by COVID-19 Autodialer

All Albertans being tested for COVID-19 have the option to receive negative COVID-19 test results over the phone through an autodialer system. Individuals being tested for COVID-19 will be provided with the opportunity to consent to the autodialer method of receiving negative COVID-19 test results when booking an appointment online or at the time they are referred for testing.

All individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by a member of the AHS Public Health team for follow-up and case management.  AHS won’t provide positive results by an automated message.

If you have consented to receive your negative results by the autodialer, you will get your negative results by an automated phone call.

If the autodialer doesn’t reach you and you don’t have voicemail, someone from AHS will attempt to call you directly to make sure you get your negative test results. 

If the autodialer hasn’t been able to reach you after seven days from time of first attempt, your results can instead be accessed on MyHealthRecords, or you can see your family doctor to get your results.

Please note: to get your test results 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, or calls from numbers that you do not recognize.

Finally, note that if several people from your home are being tested and the same phone number is used for each one, someone from AHS will call with results instead of the autodialer.

Understanding What a Positive COVID-19 Test Result Means

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