Alberta's isolation period for COVID-19 cases drops from 10 days to five
Fully immunized people have shorter infectious periods, health minister says
Effective Monday, people in Alberta with at least two doses of vaccine who test positive for COVID-19 will only need to isolate for five days instead of 10.
Health Minister Jason Copping announced the change last week in the face of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, saying it was based on evidence that fully immunized people have shorter infectious periods.
Symptoms must be fully resolved by the end of the five-day period, otherwise people must continue to isolate.
For five days after isolation, those people will be required to wear a mask around others at all times when in public.
The decision was based on evidence that fully immunized people have shorter infectious periods, Copping said.
"We're making these changes to help prevent disruptions in Alberta's workforce, especially for those who deliver the services Albertans count on," Copping said at a news conference Friday.
"We believe this step will help balance the need for continuity in the workforce, the well-being of Albertans and our need to continue to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant."
Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and British Columbia have also reduced the self-isolation period to five days.
Alberta is also introducing an exemption for certain workplaces to bring workers back before their isolation period is complete.
Copping said if a disruption of service for 24 hours or more would be harmful to the public and there is no way to continue without reinstating staff, then a workplace could be deemed eligible.
"In these exceptional circumstances, additional health public health measures will be required," Copping said.
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange also announced last week that in-person classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students would be delayed until Jan. 10.
She said the longer break would allow school authorities to plan for a successful startup.
Reporting of COVID-19 cases, both active and new, in addition to other data, will resume Tuesday. That day, a breakdown of numbers from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2 is to be released.