Here's what you need to know about Alberta's new self-isolation rules

Alberta Health Services has some new rules when it comes to self-isolation — and it’s left some scratching their heads. 

Here’s a breakdown of who should self-isolate and for how long under the new directive issued March 23: 

  • If you have symptoms, even mild, you should self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of those symptoms. No leaving the house, even if your symptoms resolve. If symptoms continue, you must continue to self-isolate past the 10 days until the symptoms are gone.
  • If you return to Canada from outside the country, you need to self-isolate for 14 days to ensure you don’t develop symptoms. 
  • If you were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you need to self-isolate for 14 days to ensure you don’t develop symptoms. 

Now, here’s where it can get a little confusing. 

No matter whether you’ve been out of the house or not, if you start to experience symptoms, you have to remain in isolation for 10 days from the onset. 

If you’ve been locked inside for a few days, sorry, that doesn’t count for the total. The day you feel the symptoms, even mild symptoms, is the day the clock starts ticking on your 10-day isolation. 

The symptoms for adults include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Pneumonia in both lungs (diagnosed through a chest X-ray).

But for children the illness can manifest differently, with the following symptoms:

  • Runny nose.
  • Sore throat.
  • Diarrhea.

  • WATCH | What to do if you’re self-isolating at home for COVID-19:
You might choose to self-isolate at home if you’ve been exposed, or think you’ve been exposed, to COVID-19. Ellen Mauro explains what to do. 1:50

Why 14 days for travellers?

It’s believed COVID-19 can linger in the body and be contagious for up to 14 days with or without symptoms, that’s why travellers and those exposed to cases are asked to stay away for that length of time. 

If you’re going to develop symptoms, it should be during those 14 days. 

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, says the best available medical evidence suggests 10 days after the onset of symptoms it is safe to end self-isolation. Again, as long as the symptoms have subsided. 

The province has also introduced new testing protocols that prioritize who gets tested. But you needn’t worry about getting lost in the weeds on that one. 

Head over to the self-assessment tool from AHS and answer the questions. It will tell you whether you should be tested or whether you should self-isolate. 

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