Isolation & Quarantine Information

COVID-19

Last Updated: April 9, 2021

Learn about Isolation & Quarantine

COVID-19 Variants|Results|What, How, When to Isolate / Quarantine|Help to Isolate & Quarantine|Close Contact / Confirmed Cases|Children & Families|Exemptions

COVID-19 Variants

Tested positive for P.1 or B.1.351 variant COVID-19

You are legally required to isolate immediately for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started, or from the date you were tested. If you test positive for the P.1 or B.1.351 variants, you will be notified by AHS and given specific instructions about isolating safely. 

Isolating in the same household is not considered adequate to prevent transmission of of P.1 or B.1.351 variant COVID-19 to other people in the household. You should isolate in a different location if possible, such as an isolation hotel. If the case is a child, consider moving other family members not required for child care to a hotel for their quarantine period. Call 211 if you need to access isolation hotels.

Household close contacts living with a variant P.1 or B.1.351 COVID-19 case

Even if the P.1 or B.1.351 variant case can isolate at home in a separate room with access to a separate bathroom, this may not be enough to prevent transmission to other members of the household.

Every day the case is isolating at home is considered a new exposure for the household contacts.

If this applies to you, you will be notified by AHS. 

Household contacts of variant cases must quarantine during the case’s isolation period (10 days) plus an additional 14 days after the case’s isolation period ends. Call 211 if you need to access isolation hotels.

Close contact of a case with a P.1 or B.1.351 variant strain of COVID-19

Because you are a close contact to a person with a variant strain of COVID-19 you are legally required to quarantine for 14 days from the time you were exposed and monitor for symptoms. Close contacts of a variant of concern are recommended to be tested twice during their quarantine period.

Book a first COVID-19 test as soon as you receive confirmation that you are a close contact of someone who tested positive for a variant of COVID-19. If your first test is negative you will need to book a second test 10 days after your last exposure to the confirmed case. Book you second test prior to day 14 (the end of your quarantine period). If you develop symptoms at any time during your quarantine, you should book a test immediately and continue to stay home.

See Alberta Health Isolation and Quarantine Requirements for more information.

Results

I Am Waiting for My Result

If you have been tested for COVID-19, 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. If you went for testing because you had symptoms it is important to isolate while waiting for your results. Please go to ahs.ca/results

What, How, When to Isolate / 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 help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing contact with others and reducing the number of people you could infect if you are sick. Both require staying home and avoiding situations where the virus could spread.

  • People who have tested positive for COVID -19 or have symptoms of COVID-19 MUST isolate for at least 10 days.
    • Individuals under 18 years do not have to isolate for only a runny nose or sore throat, but should stay home until well.
  • People who are close contacts of a person who has COVID-19 MUST quarantine for 14 days, even if they are tested and have negative results.
  • People who have returned from travel outside of Canada MUST quarantine for 14 days.

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

Isolation and quarantine can be challenging, but they are important ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

How to Isolate & Quarantine

When you are in isolation or quarantine you must follow Alberta’s mandatory restrictions.

  • Stay home.
  • 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 go for walks in your neighbourhood or parks.
  • Get fresh air in your backyard, or on a private balcony, as long as you are on private property, can maintain six feet or two metres of distance from others, and the area is not accessible to others.
  • 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.
  • Avoid 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, medication and other supplies on your step.
  • Reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 by wearing a non-medical mask if you will be within six feet or two metres of people in your household.

If you are in isolation also:

  • Do not share household items like dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, blankets and pillows. After using these, wash them very well with soap and water, place in the dishwasher for cleaning, or wash in the washing machine.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible. If not possible, put the toilet lid down before flushing. Clean and disinfect bathroom (all surfaces and light switches, taps) after use. Do not share towels.
  • Use a separate bedroom, if possible. If not possible, try to keep two metres apart, sleep head to toe or hang a sheet to separate from others.

Here are some more tips for when you have to isolate or quarantine:

  • All household members 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.
  • Encourage household members to not 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 immediately wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and counters.
  • Monitor 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.

When Is My Isolation Over?

  • Isolation generally ends 10 days after your symptoms start, UNLESS you still feel sick. If you feel sick you need to continue to isolate. Your continued isolation past 10 days can end when you have gone 24 hours without a fever, without taking fever-reducing medications (e.g. Advil or Tylenol), AND your other symptoms have improved. Some symptoms such as fatigue and cough may last longer than 10 days, but do not require a longer isolation.
  • If you never develop symptoms, your isolation period ends 10 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, or you have been hospitalized for severe COVID-19, your isolation will usually end 14 days after your symptoms start as long as you have not had a fever within the last 24 hours, without taking fever-reducing medications, AND your other symptoms have improved.
  • If your fever continues past 14 days or your COVID-19 symptoms are getting worse call your health care provider or 811.
  • For a medical emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department and tell them that you tested positive for COVID-19.

When is My Quarantine Over?

  • If you are a close contact of a person with COVID-19 you are legally required to quarantine for 14 days from the time you were last exposed
  • If you have returned from travel outside of Canada you are legally required to quarantine for 14 days. Learn more at Info for Travellers.
  • You must complete your 14 day quarantine, even if you receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • If you develop symptoms during your quarantine period, receive a positive COVID-19 test result, or have an additional exposure to someone with COVID-19 your quarantine may be extended.

Help to Isolate & Quarantine

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

For provincial regulations, see Alberta Health Isolation and Quarantine Requirements.

Close Contact / Confirmed Case

Close Contact of a Confirmed Case, Tested Negative, No Symptoms, Do I Need to Quarantine?| Living With Close Contact of a Confirmed Case, Do I Need to Quarantine?| Living With Confirmed Case, Do I Need to Quarantine?

If I Am a Close Contact of a Confirmed COVID-19 Case But Have Tested Negative and Have No Symptoms, Do I Need to Quarantine?

Yes, you must continue to quarantine until 14 days after the last exposure to the case. The requirement for quarantine for close contacts or returned travellers applies regardless of any testing results.

Requirements are different for variants, see: Variants Isolation & Quarantine Requirements

If I Live With Someone Who Is a Close Contact of a Confirmed COVID-19 Case and Is Required to Quarantine, Do I Need to Quarantine?

No, you do not need to quarantine as long as the person who is a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case does not develop symptoms or has not tested positive for COVID-19.

If the person who is a close contact develops symptoms, you and the other members of the household are required to quarantine for 14 days.

  • Follow the How to Isolate and Quarantine section above.
  • The person who is a close contact should be tested for COVID-19. Please visit ahs.ca/testing for more information and to book a test.
    • If the person who is a close contact tests negative for COVID-19, the other household members are not required to quarantine as long as they themselves do not develop symptoms.
    • If the person who is a close contact tests positive for COVID-19, the other household members are required to quarantine for 14 days.
    • Requirements are different for variants, see: Variants Isolation & Quarantine Requirements

If I Live With Someone Who Is a Confirmed COVID-19 Case, Do I Need to Quarantine?

Yes, you and other members of your household must quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure to the household member who has tested positive for COVID-19.

All household members must stay at home and are recommended to be tested. Please visit ahs.ca/testing for more information and to book a test.

Household members must quarantine for 14 days as follows:

  • Any household members who are in close contact with the person who has COVID-19 will have to quarantine for 14 additional days. The 14 day quarantine period starts when the person who has COVID-19 has ended their isolation.
  • If you are able to meet the following criteria, your 14 day quarantine period can start after your last exposure to the person who has COVID-19:
    • The person with COVID-19 has their own room (with a door closed) and bathroom for the duration of isolation.
    • The household practices strict hand hygiene and rigorous cleaning and disinfecting of household surfaces.
    • The person with COVID-19 uses a mask and keeps 6 feet or 2 metres of distance from others while in any shared spaces, and limits their time in shared living spaces as much as possible.
    • Household and personal items (such as phones, computers, laptops, books, utensils, personal grooming items) are not shared.
    • Meal trays are left outside a closed door when possible, and the person leaving and picking up a tray practices physical distancing and hand hygiene.
    • Requirements are different for variants, see: Variants Isolation & Quarantine Requirements

Follow the How to Isolate and Quarantine section above for more details.

Children & Families

For Children and Families| Isolation for Children| Quarantine for Children| General Guidance for When Your Child Has To Isolate|When A Child Is Sick with COVID-19| Your Child Is Sick or Has Been Exposed to COVID-19| Child Is a Close Contact of a Confirmed Case of COVID-19 & Does Not Have Symptoms

For Children & Families

The AHS Parent COVID-19 Guide provides guidance about quarantine and isolation based on exposure to COVID-19. Use the links below to find specific information about what to do if your child feels unwell and/or has been notified by AHS as a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19. This Guide also advises what household contacts need to do for each situation.

Your Child Has COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Your child has one or more of these COVID-19 symptoms that are new, worsening or not related to other known causes: fever; cough; shortness of breath; loss of sense of smell or taste. Learn more
  • Your child has one or more of these COVID-19 symptoms that are new, worsening or not related to other known causes (and none of the previously listed symptoms): chills; sore throat or painful swallowing; runny nose or congestion; feeling unwell or fatigued; nausea or vomiting or diarrhea; unexplained loss of appetite; muscle or joint aches; headache; conjunctivitis (pink eye). Learn more

Your Child Does Not Have COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Your child does not have COVID-19 symptoms and has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19. Learn more

For specific instructions learn more below:

Isolation for Children

Children who feel unwell should stay home. The AHS Parent COVID-19 Guide provides guidance about isolation based on specific symptoms of COVID-19.

Your child is legally required to isolate for 10 days, or until symptoms are gone (whichever is longer) if your child has any of these COVID-19 symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition:

  • a cough
  • fever
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of smell or taste (isolation is not a legal requirement for loss of taste and smell, but your child should stay home).

If your child has other COVID-19 symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition: chills; sore throat or painful swallowing; runny nose or congestion; feeling unwell or fatigued; nausea or vomiting or diarrhea; unexplained loss of appetite; muscle or joint aches; headache; conjunctivitis (pink eye), they should stay home until they are feeling better.

All children with symptoms of COVID-19 are recommended to be tested.

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.

Quarantine for Children

The AHS Parent COVID-19 Guide provides guidance about quarantine based on exposure to COVID-19.

Children who are a close contact of a person with COVID-19 or after returning from international travel are required to quarantine for 14 days and are recommended to be tested. Please visit ahs.ca/testing for more information and to book a test.

Your child will need to continue their quarantine for the full 14 days after their last contact with the person, even if they test negative for COVID-19 during that time frame.

If your child develop symptoms, receives a positive COVID-19 test result, or has an additional exposure to someone with COVID-19 their quarantine may be extended.

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

General Guidance for When Your Child Has To Isolate

When your child is in mandatory isolation they:

  • Must stay home.
  • Cannot attend school, day care, work, social events, extra-curricular activities or public gatherings.
  • Cannot go for walks in their neighbourhood or parks.
  • Can get fresh air in your backyard, or on a private balcony, as long as they are on private property, can maintain six feet or two metres of distance from others, and the area is not accessible to others.
  • Cannot use the elevators or stairwells to go outside if they live in an apartment or high rise.
  • Cannot take public transportation, including buses, taxis or ride sharing.
  • Should try to avoid close contact with people in their household, especially seniors and people with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Should not have visitors to their home. Friends, family or delivery drivers can drop off supplies on your step.
  • Can help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 by wearing a non-medical mask if they will be within six feet or two metres of people in their household.

Here are some tips for when your child has to isolate:

  • All household members 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.
  • Encourage household members to not touch their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Individuals should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their sleeve when they cough or sneeze. 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 very well with soap and water, place in the dishwasher for cleaning, or wash in the washing machine.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and counters.
  • Monitor everyone for symptoms of COVID-19. Call Health Link at 811 if you have questions about your (or your family member’s) health.

Quarantine for Household Members If Your Child Is Sick or Has Been Exposed to COVID-19

The other people in your household must quarantine:

  • If your child tests positive for COVID-19, or
  • If your child has a known exposure to COVID-19 and has one or more of these COVID-19 symptoms that are new, worsening or not related to other known causes: fever; cough; shortness of breath; loss of sense of smell or taste.

All household members must stay at home and are recommended to be tested. Please visit ahs.ca/testing for more information and to book a test.

Household members must quarantine for 14 days as follows:

  • Any household members who are in close contact with the child who is sick (such as one adult who is their designated caregiver) will have to quarantine for 14 additional days from when their child’s isolation is over.
  • Household members who are able to avoid close contact with the child who is sick can have their 14 day quarantine period start from when they last had close contact if:
    • The child who is sick has their own room (with a door closed) and bathroom for the duration of isolation. They can share this space with one adult who is designated as the caregiver.
    • The household practices strict hand hygiene and rigorous cleaning and disinfecting of household surfaces.
    • The child who is sick uses a mask and keeps 6 feet or 2 metres of distance from others while in any shared spaces, and limits their time in shared living spaces as much as possible.
    • Household and personal items (such as phones, computers, laptops, books, utensils, personal grooming items) are not shared.
    • Meal trays are left outside a closed door when possible, and the person leaving and picking up a tray practices physical distancing and hand hygiene.

Here are some other tips that may help while your family is isolating:

  • Follow the How to Isolate and Quarantine section above.
  • Use delivery services (or ask friends) for groceries or other essential items.
    • Caregivers should avoid contact with bodily fluids from the child who is sick:
    • Wash hands often and thoroughly with soap and water (or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly soiled). Wash hands immediately after: providing care, before and after removing mask, after removing gloves, cleaning surfaces, handling soiled items, or interacting with the child who is sick or their environment.
    • Wear a disposable face mask and gloves if touching or have contact with bodily fluids. Throw these out after one use in a lined trash can. Wash hands thoroughly after handling these items or disposing of trash.
    • Wear disposable gloves when handling soiled items, such as clothes, bedding and used household items, and when cleaning surfaces that may be contaminated with bodily fluids.
  • Have the designated caregiver handle laundry as follows:
    • Immediately remove and wash soiled clothes or bedding.
    • Wear disposable gloves when possible while handling soiled items. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling.
    • Wash as per instructions on labels of items and use your detergent of choice. Generally wash and dry with the warmest temperatures recommended on labels of items.
  • Have the designated caregiver clean the space being used by the child who is sick:
    • Clean any contaminated surfaces as well as all high touch surfaces such as table tops, counters, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, bedside tables, keyboards, tablets, phones, etc. at least daily.
    • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning surfaces. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after removing and disposing of gloves.
    • Follow cleaning instructions on labels of products being used to clean surfaces. Regular household cleaners can be used. A diluted bleach solution of one part bleach to nine parts water may also be used if appropriate for surfaces being cleaned.
    • Dispose of items such as soiled tissues in a sealed garbage bag and leave out for garbage collection.

General Advice for Household Members If Your Child Is Sick or Has Been Exposed to COVID-19

  • Watch your child and other household members closely for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If your child or another member of your household develops symptoms
    • They should stay home if they feel unwell.
    • 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 household, 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 sick individuals to use, if possible. Plan to clean these rooms as needed when someone is sick.

Specific Information for When a Child Is a Close Contact of a Confirmed Case of COVID-19 & Does Not Have Symptoms

If your child is a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 and is not sick, they are required to isolate for 14 days, even if they have a negative test result. This is because on the day they were tested, there may have not been enough virus in their body for the test to pick it up. Isolating for the full 14 days ensures there is no virus in their system, and therefore, they won’t continue to spread COVID-19.

If your child is a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 and is not sick, the other members of your household are not required to isolate.

Here is what your household should do in this situation:

  • Follow the general guidance section above.
  • Watch your child closely for symptoms of COVID-19. If your child develops symptoms, they should be tested for COVID-19, and household members should isolate while waiting for the test results
  • Please visit ahs.ca/testing for more information and to book a test.

Exemptions

Exemptions to Mandatory Isolation & Quarantine

If you or your child is in mandatory isolation or quarantine 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 their isolation area on the date and time of your appointment.
  • Use private transportation where possible.
  • Maintain physical distance from others when shared transportation is necessary – travel directly to the appointment and home again with no stops.
  • Have you or your child wear a mask.
  • Tell your health care provider(s) if you have a known exposure to COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms, or have tested positive.
  • Follow all instructions provided by 811 or health-care providers.
  • Follow instructions provided by 911 if you require emergency care.

Exemption Orders