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Alberta lowers isolation requirement for fully vaccinated people

Last Updated Jan 3, 2022 at 10:31 am MDT

perspective view closeup of medical protection face mask left by the closed window near door handle quarantine concept

Fully vaccinated Albertans will now only need to isolate for five days

Following isolation, Albertans will need to wear a mask at all times outside of their home for five days

Regular COVID-19 updates to resume on Tuesday afternoon

Alberta is shortening the amount of time fully vaccinated people with COVID-19 will need to isolate.

On Friday, Health Minister Jason Copping announced as of Monday the isolation requirement would be lowered to five days from 10.

Copping says this change will only apply to people who no longer have symptoms.

“If symptoms continue past five days, then their isolation will need to continue until they are feeling better,” he explained.

WATCH LIVE: Dr. Deena Hinshaw is joined by Health Minister Jason Copping to provide an update on COVID-19 in Alberta. 



Following the isolation period, Albertans will need to wear a mask at all times outside of their home for five days.

“We feel this is prudent given the evidence that shows that fully immunized people have shorter infectious periods. This change is also in line with the approach Ontario and other provinces are taking and with the latest guidelines from the CDC and the United States.”

Those who are not fully vaccinated will still need to isolate for 10 days or until symptoms are gone.

Copping says an exception is being provided for workplaces where a disruption of more than 24 hours would be harmful to the public. In these instances, additional health measures would be required.

“For example, returning workers would not be allowed to remove their masks when in the same room as anyone else at any time, even if they’re distanced,” Copping explained.

While there were no COVID case numbers released on Friday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw did take some time to talk about future updates and the ever-changing situation surrounding the Omicron variant.

Hinshaw says on Thursday, Alberta had about 21,000 active COVID-19 infections. This falls in line with the estimated 4,000 new cases that were reported.


Alberta shatters previous COVID case record in preliminary numbers update

She says that these numbers are high, but they don’t reflect the total number of cases the province is actually seeing.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, daily numbers have only given us a snapshot of the situation,” Hinshaw explained. “They’ve shown us proportionality and trends. What areas of the province are experiencing surges in cases, for example, this information provides evidence that has allowed us to make decisions.

“But daily case numbers have never been an exact count.”

Hinshaw explains that these numbers will never include Albertans who don’t get tested because they have no symptoms or those who don’t report their positive test result.

“In previous waves, we believe our PCR testing program captured about one in four cases of COVID 19. In the fourth wave, that changed to about one in six as more individuals who are symptomatic or have been exposed to the virus test themselves at home with rapid antigen tests.”

She says that ratio is dropping even more with the Omicron variant.

She explains the province has other ways to monitor the levels of transmission which include tools like wastewater surveillance and syndromic surveillance.

Heading into the new year, both Copping and Hinshaw are urging Albertans to be smart when planning New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“If you’re going to an indoor social gathering or if you’re hosting one yourself, please keep it small, 10 people maximum, and the fewer the better,” Hinshaw said. “Ask any guests to stay home if they’re feeling ill and if you’re feeling ill yourself please cancel the gathering.

“We must continue to do what’s right for us and for our communities to work together so we can truly enjoy a start to a brand new year.”

Hinshaw says the province will provide in-depth COVID-19 numbers and continue regular reporting on Tuesday.