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.
Alberta reduces COVID-19 isolation period for fully vaccinated people from 10 to 5 days
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.
Unvaccinated Albertans must continue to isolate for 10 days.
COVID-19: Alberta’s new 5-day isolation rule met with praise and criticism
Copping says it will prevent disruptions in the workforce, especially for those who deliver important services.
Off-ice save: Keen-eyed Kraken fan alerts Canucks manager to cancerous mole
CDC considering COVID-19 test requirement for asymptomatic Americans: Fauci
He said discretionary exceptions could be made for workers whose absence causes “significant public health impact.” In those instances, additional health measures would be put into place, Copping said.
Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and British Columbia have also reduced the self-isolation period to five days.
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw explained the decision was based on evidence that those who are fully immunized shed virus for a shorter period of time and that “shorter isolation periods are easier to comply with.”
Hinshaw explained the more people who comply with the isolation requirements, the better it is for overall public health.
Omicron variant complicates what a COVID-19 endemic will look like
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.
She said the province would also provide millions of rapid tests and medical-grade masks to school staff and students starting next Monday.
Alberta delays return to in-person K to 12 school until Jan. 10
— With files from Emily Mertz, Global News
© 2022 The Canadian Press