What is Isolation?| When is My Isolation Over?| When is My Quarantine Over?| How to Isolate & Quarantine| Supporting Patients & Residents| Children & Families
What is Isolation?
Isolation is 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 should not leave your home or attend work, social events or any other public gatherings.
Isolation is no longer legally required in Alberta. However, people with symptoms of COVID-19 and people who test positive for COVID-19 are recommended to isolate. Isolation continues to be important for controlling the spread of COVID-19 in our province.
Who is Recommended to Isolate?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay home and away from others until your symptoms have improved, you feel well enough to resume normal activities, and have been free of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.
If you test Positive for COVID-19 on a molecular (e.g. PCR, rapid point-of-care) or if you have symptoms and test positive on at-home rapid test, see below for additional information on your recommended isolation.
If you don’t have a test, test negative, or choose not to be tested, you should stay home until you feel well enough to resume normal activities and you have been free of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication. This is because your symptoms could be caused by a different virus that can be spread to other people.
When Is My Recommended Isolation Over?
If you test positive for COVID-19, you should follow the isolation recommendations below:
- You should 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 should 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.
- 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.
If you test negative* on a COVID-19 test and continue to have symptoms, you should stay home and away from others until your symptoms have improved, you feel well enough to resume normal activities, and have been free of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.
*See Rapid Testing at Home for what to do and isolation recommendations following a rapid test.
Your physician may recommend that you isolate longer if you are immunocompromised, you should follow their recommendations.
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
If you've returned from travel outside of Canada you must follow all federal quarantine requirements.
It is highly recommended that anyone with COVID-19 isolate 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 You Should Do:
- Stay home.
- Wear a mask if you are indoors and around others.
- Limit contact with other people in your household as much as possible.
- Avoid contact with vulnerable people such as seniors, people with weak immune systems and those with chronic health conditions.
- Check with your employer about any workplace restrictions.
Tips to Isolate at Home:
- Stay 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- If a breastfeeding parent or their child has COVID-19, breastfeeding may continue. The breastfeeding parent should wear a mask when near the baby, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze, and clean your hands before and after close contact with the baby
- 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.
- Caregivers should avoid contact with bodily fluids from the person 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 person 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.
Find more information on How to Care for a COVID-19 Patient at Home.
Supporting Patients & Residents
Check with the site you are visiting for entry requirements and precautions.
For more information on entry requirements, see ahs.ca/visitation.
Children & Families
Children need love, care, and attention from caregivers every day. If your child develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, we recommend you 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.