Isolation & Quarantine Information

COVID-19

Last Updated March 9, 2022

Isolation & Quarantine Scenario Chart| What is Isolation?| What is Quarantine?| When is My Isolation Over?| When is My Quarantine Over?| How to Isolate & Quarantine| Help to Isolate & Quarantine| Supporting Patients & Residents| Children & Families| Exemptions

Isolation & Quarantine Scenario Chart

See at a glance if you or a household member need to isolate or quarantine.

What is Isolation?

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.

Isolation means that you do not leave your home or attend work, social events or any other public gatherings.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, isolate right away. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and were tested, isolate while you wait for your test results. You are legally required to isolate under the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Order and Public Health Act, if you:

If you have any other non core symptoms of COVID-19, you are strongly advised to stay home and minimize contact with others until their symptoms get better.

What is Quarantine?

Quarantine limits potential spread from people who have been exposed to COVID-19 but have not yet developed symptoms or tested positive. Close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are no longer legally required to quarantine. It is recommended that you take some actions to reduce contact with others to prevent possible spread. This includes people who:

Anyone who has returned from travel outside of Canada must follow federal isolation and quarantine requirements.

When Is My Isolation Over?

How long you need to isolate for depends on your COVID-19 immunization status:

For Fully-Immunized People

If you are COVID-19 positive or have core COVID-19 symptoms and are fully immunized against COVID-19 you must follow the isolation directions below.

NOTE: Fully immunized means you are immunized with two doses in a two-dose vaccine series or one dose of the Janssen vaccine, and it has been at least 14 days since your last dose.

  • You are legally required to stay home and isolate for at least 5 days from when you first started having symptoms of COVID-19 or had your positive test (if you never had symptoms). You must keep isolating until your symptoms have improved and you have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
    • You are the best person to decide if your symptoms are improving. An improvement in symptoms means that you are feeling better than you did in the previous days and you have no new COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Some symptoms may continue after you're no longer able to spread the virus to others. If you still have a cough, loss of sense of taste or smell, or fatigue that is not getting worse after 5 days of isolation, you do not need to keep staying home.
    • After this time, you must wear a mask in public places when unable to maintain a two meter distance from others, until 10 days have passed from when your symptoms began or you tested positive.

For People Not Fully Immunized

If you are COVID-19 positive OR have core COVID-19 symptoms and are NOT fully immunized against COVID-19, you must follow the isolation directions below.

NOTE: Fully immunized means you are immunized with two doses in a two-dose vaccine series or one dose of the Janssen vaccine, and it has been at least 14 days since your last dose.

  • You are legally required to stay home and isolate for at least 10 days from when you first started having symptoms of COVID-19 OR had your positive test (if you never had symptoms).
    • You must keep isolating until your symptoms have improved and you have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
    • You are the best person to decide if your symptoms are improving. An improvement in symptoms means that you are feeling better than you did in the previous days and you have no new COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Some symptoms may continue after you are no longer able to spread the virus to others. If cough, loss of sense of taste or smell, or fatigue that is not getting worse after 10 days of isolation, you do not need to keep staying home.

If you test negative* on a COVID-19 test and continue to have symptoms, you should still stay home and away from others until your symptoms resolve.

If you have any other non core symptoms of COVID-19, you are strongly advised to stay home. Complete the COVID-19 assessment tool to find out if you should be tested for COVID-19 and for more information.

*See Rapid Testing at Home for what to do and isolation instructions following a rapid test.

Your physician may recommend that you isolate longer if you are immunocompromised, you should follow their instructions.

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.

When is My Quarantine Over?

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.

Most people recover from COVID-19 without special treatment and can manage mild symptoms at home. Go to COVID-19 Self-Care Guide for more information.

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 bathroom, 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.
  • Maximize ventilation and airflow in the living spaces. Even opening a window for a few minutes every hour can help improve ventilation.
  • 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.

Supporting Patients & Residents

All designated support persons and visitors are screened before they can enter an AHS or partner facility. For more information on entry requirements, see ahs.ca/visitation.

Some continuing care settings have additional restrictions limiting attendance for longer than the required isolation period. Learn more about the current Alberta Health Visiting Policy and review health screening required upon arrival: COVID-19 Continuing Care Daily Checklist for Visitors and Volunteers.

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

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.
  • Maximize ventilation and airflow in the living spaces. Even opening a window for a few minutes every hour can help improve ventilation.
  • 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.
    • Maximize ventilation and airflow in the living spaces. Even opening a window for a few minutes every hour can help improve ventilation.

Tips for Parents Sharing Child Custody and Co-Parenting during COVID-19:

  • COVID-19 isolation requirements can be challenging when children and their parents live in different homes and share parenting, perhaps under an agreement or court order.
  • It is recommended that parents decide ahead of time what to do if a parent, child or other person living in one of the two households develops symptoms of COVID-19 or gets the illness.
    • Ideally, every person required to isolate will stay in one place, living with the fewest people possible, for the whole time they are legally required to isolate. This limits the number of people exposed to the risk of transmission and infection.
    • A shared parenting arrangement may call for a child to move from one home to another while either the child or a parent is isolating. In these circumstances, the parents may wish to adjust usual shared parenting arrangements. For example:
      • If the child is the one required to isolate, to allow the child to remain in one home until the isolation period is complete.
      • If a parent is required to isolate, to allow the child to remain in the home of the other parent (who is not isolating) until the isolation period is complete.
    • If a parenting exchange does take place during a period when a child is isolating, then both households will be considered exposed and will need to take the recommended precautions.
  • If you think the other parent is not taking the necessary health precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, try to discuss it together. If that is not possible, consider obtaining legal advice.

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.
    • Get tested using an at-home rapid test. If you don’t have access to one, continue to stay home and away from other people until symptoms get better. For advice on whether you need be tested through AHS, use the COVID-19 Assessment & Testing Tool.
    • 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

Everyone (including those under 18 years of age) in mandatory isolation and in need of critical care for pre-existing medical conditions or emergency care should do the following:

  • Pre-arrange your appointment and only leave your isolation area on the date and at the time of your appointment.
  • Follow all instructions you get from 811 or a health care provider.
  • Follow instructions you get from 911 if you need emergency care.
  • Use a private vehicle to get to your appointment where possible.
  • Keep 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.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Tell your health care provider if you’re having symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive.