Isolation & Quarantine Information

COVID-19

Last Updated November 15, 2021

Learn About Isolation & Quarantine

Results|What, How, When to Isolate / Quarantine|Help to Isolate & Quarantine|Children & Families|Exemptions

Results

I'm Waiting for My Result

If you've been tested for COVID-19, the information below will help you understand:

  • what to do while you wait for your test results
  • what it means if your COVID-19 test is positive or negative

If you went for a COVID-19 test because you had symptoms, you are legally required to isolate while you wait for the results. Please go to ahs.ca/results.

What, How, When to Isolate or Quarantine

What are Isolation & Quarantine?| How to Isolate & Quarantine| When Is My Isolation Over?| When Is My Quarantine Over?

What Are Isolation & Quarantine?

Isolation and quarantine are when you stay away from or keep yourself apart from others. When you have less contact with others, even those you live with, you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you’re sick.

People who have tested positive for COVID -19 or have symptoms of COVID-19 must isolate for at least 10 days from when symptoms started, or when they were tested (if they didn’t have symptoms). This applies to everyone, even if they have been immunized for COVID-19.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by phone by a member of the AHS Public Health team for follow-up and support. The AHS case investigator will determine the specific period of isolation based on their assessment of symptoms.

Both isolation and quarantine require you to stay home and avoid situations where the virus could spread.

Learn more about Alberta’s provincial isolation and quarantine requirements.

Learn more about identifying and advising your close contacts on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

How to Isolate & Quarantine

When you’re in isolation or quarantine you must follow provincial and federal requirements.

It is highly recommended that anyone with COVID-19 isolate completely away from their household members when possible. This helps to prevent ongoing exposure to the virus.

What to Do:

  • Stay home.
  • Wear a mask if you’ll be within six feet or two metres of others in your household. This helps lower the possible spread of COVID-19.
  • Get fresh air in your backyard, or on a private balcony. Be sure that you’re on private property, can keep six feet or two metres away from others, and no one else comes into that area.

What Not to Do:

  • Do not leave your home or attend school, day care, worship, work, social events, extra-curricular activities, public gatherings, or any other public places.
  • Do not use the elevators or stairwells to go outside if you live in an apartment or high rise.
  • Do not take public transportation, including buses, taxis, or ride sharing. This is prohibited.
  • Do not have close contact with people in your household, especially seniors and people with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Do not have visitors to your home. Friends, family, or delivery services can drop off food, medicines, and other supplies at your door.
  • Do not go for walks in your neighbourhood or parks.

To Isolate at Home:

  • Stay completely away from others, in a separate room with access to your own bathroom.
    • If you can’t have your own thebathroom, put the toilet lid down before flushing. Clean and disinfect bathroom (all surfaces, light switches, and taps) after each use. Do not share towels.
    • If you can’t have a separate bedroom, try to keep 2 metres apart, sleep head to toe, or hang a sheet to separate you from others.
  • Wear a mask if you must use a shared space, even for short times when others are not present such as a hallway to the bathroom.
  • Do not share household items like dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, blankets, and pillows. After using these, wash them well with soap and water, place in the dishwasher for cleaning, or wash in the washing machine.
  • It’s still recommended that you stay isolated from household members who have been immunized.

Tips for Household Contacts of Someone Who Has to Isolate, Quarantine, or Stay at Home:

  • Everyone in the house should wash 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 hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Remind household members not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in the garbage and wash hands right away with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs light switches, and counters.
  • Watch everyone for symptoms of COVID-19. Call Health Link at 811 if you have questions about your (or your family member’s) health.

Find more information on How to Care for a COVID-19 Patient at Home.

How Long Do I Need to Isolate?

  • Isolation generally ends 10 full days after your symptoms start, unless you still feel sick. If you feel sick you need to continue to isolate. Your isolation past 10 days can end when you’ve gone 24 hours without a fever, without taking fever-reducing medicines (such as Advil or Tylenol), and your other symptoms are getting better. Some symptoms such as fatigue and cough may last longer than 10 days, but you do not need a longer isolation for these.
  • If you never develop symptoms after your positive test, your isolation period ends 10 full days after the date when your first positive COVID-19 swab was taken.
    • If you’ve been told by a health care provider that you have a weak immune system or you are immunocompromised, it’s important you talk with your doctor and follow their advice. They may recommend special testing and a longer isolation to make sure you aren’t able to spread disease to others.

If you were hospitalized for COVID-19 and were told by your doctor to isolate for longer than 10 days, you should follow their instructions.

  • Your isolation will end a minimum of 14 days after your symptoms start and
    • when you’ve gone at least 24 hours without a fever
    • you have not had to take medicine to lower your fever for 24 hours
    • your other symptoms are getting better

When is My Quarantine Over?

Help to Isolate & Quarantine

Resources are available if you can't isolate safely in your own home:

Children & Families

General Guidance for When Your Child Has To Isolate| Your Child Is Sick or Has Been Exposed to COVID-19

For Children & Families

The AHS Parent COVID-19 Guide provides information about isolation based on symptoms and what household contacts need to do for each situation.

Children need love, care, and attention from caregivers every day. If your child develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, choose 1 healthy family member to be their caregiver to help lower the spread of the virus to others in the household. You’re the best judge of how to care for your child and may decide that it’s not possible to have only 1 adult be with your child for such a long period of time.

For specific instructions learn more below:

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, follow the When Is My Isolation Over? section above.

For more information about how to isolate see How to Isolate and Quarantine.

General Guide for When Your Child Has To Isolate

When your child is in mandatory isolation they must stay home.

They Cannot:

  • attend school, day care, work, social events, extra-curricular activities, or public gatherings
  • use the elevators or stairwells to go outside if they live in an apartment or high rise
  • take public transportation, including buses, taxis, or ride sharing
  • go for walks in their neighbourhood or parks
  • have visitors to their home. Friends, family, or delivery drivers can drop off supplies at the door

They Should:

  • wear a mask if they’ll be within six feet or two metres of people in their household – this helps lower the possible spread of COVID-19
  • try to avoid close contact with people in their household, especially seniors and people with chronic conditions or weak immune systems.
  • get fresh air in your backyard, or on a private balcony, as long as they’re on private property, and can keep six feet or two metres away from others, and no one else comes into that area.

Tips for When Your Child Must Isolate:

  • Everyone in the house should wash their hands often with soap and water thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available and hands aren’t visibly dirty.
  • Remind everyone not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • For coughs or sneezes, everyone should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their sleeve. Throw used tissues in the garbage and immediately wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t share household items like dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, and pillows. After using these, wash them well with soap and water in the sink, the dishwasher, or wash in the washing machine.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, light switches, and counters.
  • Watch everyone for symptoms of COVID-19. Call Health Link at 811 if you have questions about your (or your family member’s) health.

Tips for You (The Caregiver) While Your Child Is Isolating:

  • Follow the How to Isolate and Quarantine section above.
  • Use delivery services (or ask friends) to bring groceries or other essential items. Be sure to ask them to drop items off at the door.
  • Caregivers should avoid contact with bodily fluids from the child who is sick:
    • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water. You can use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available and your hands aren’t visibly soiled. Wash your hands right after: giving care, before and after taking off your mask, after taking off your gloves, cleaning surfaces, handling soiled items, or touching or handling the child who is sick or anything in their room.
    • Wear a disposable face mask and gloves if touching or have contact with bodily fluids. Throw the mask and gloves out after 1 use in a lined garbage can. Wash your hands well after handling these items or putting them in the garbage.
    • Wear disposable gloves when you handle soiled items such as clothes, bedding, used household items, and when cleaning surfaces that may be contaminated with bodily fluids.
  • Have the designated caregiver handle laundry as follows:
    • Remove and wash soiled clothes or bedding right away.
    • Wear disposable gloves when possible while handling soiled items.
    • Wash your hands well, with soap and water, after you handle laundry or taking off your gloves.
    • Wash according to the instructions on the labels of items. Wash and dry with the warmest temperatures recommended on labels of items
    • Use your usual laundry soap.
  • Have the designated caregiver clean the space or room the child who is sick is in:
    • Clean any contaminated surfaces and all surfaces that are touched often at least once a day. This includes table tops, counters, doorknobs, light switches, sinks and taps, toilets, bedside tables, keyboards, tablets, and phones.
    • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning surfaces. Wash your hands well with soap and water after taking off and throwing away the gloves.
    • Follow the instructions on labels of any cleaning products you use. You can use your regular household cleaners. If it’s appropriate for the surface you’re cleaning, you may use a diluted bleach solution of 1-part bleach to 9-parts water.
    • Place garbage and items such as used tissues in a sealed garbage bag and leave out for garbage collection.

General Advice for Household Members If Your Child Is Sick

  • Watch your child and other household members closely for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If your child or anyone else in your house develops symptoms:
    • They should stay home.
    • They should be tested for COVID-19. Please visit ahs.ca/testing for more information and to book a test.
    • Try to avoid close contact between your sick household member and other people in your house, especially seniors and people with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
    • Choose a room in your home you can use to separate sick household members from healthy ones, if possible. Choose a separate bathroom for the sick ones to use, if you can. Plan to clean these rooms as needed when someone is sick.

Exemptions

Exemptions to Mandatory Isolation

If you or your child is in mandatory isolation and needs COVID-19 testing, critical care for pre-existing medical conditions, or emergency medical care:

  • Pre-arrange an appointment. You or your child should only leave your isolation area on the day and time of your appointment.
  • Use a private vehicle to get to your appointment where possible.
  • Keep a physical distance from others when shared transportation (friend’s car or taxi) is necessary.
  • Go directly to the appointment and home again with no stops.
  • Both you or your child must wear a mask.
  • Tell your health care provider if you’re having symptoms or have tested positive.
  • Follow all instructions you get from 811 or a healthcare provider.
  • Follow instructions you get from 911 if you need emergency care.