New approach for COVID-19 testing in Alberta targets at-risk populations

Logan Walker 10 adjusts hearts and signs in the window of his family's northwest Calgary home on Saturday

Logan Walker 10 adjusts hearts and signs in the window of his family’s northwest Calgary home on Saturday

That number is expected to continue rising over the coming days as Alberta Health Services rolls out new testing criteria that will stop testing those with mild symptoms who have returned from travel.

"This means, that if a person returned from overseas and experiences symptoms after seven days of self-isolating, they will be required to self-isolate for 10 days from the start of those symptoms".

Seniors in care homes and people in similar families who have symptoms, and those hospitalized for respiratory illness, are being tested and asked to self-isolate for two weeks.

Also being targeted as a testing priority are health-care workers with respiratory symptoms.

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Anyone who has travelled outside of the country is asked to self-isolate for 14 days to monitor for symptoms, even if they are feeling well.

She noted that Alberta is following an approach consistent with other provinces.

The province has set up a program for people and organizations wanting to help people affected by the pandemic.

She says some of those doctors returned to work and saw patients before they were notified that they had been exposed.

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"It is an absolute public health imperative - and we are prepared to if necessary use stronger legal tools to impose that obligation on people".

"I know there has been some concern expressed that our change in our strategy for testing means that there is a bunch of cases that we are actually not getting to or that we are not recognizing in the community", she told a media briefing.

When it comes to testing for COVID-19 there has been some confusion over when to do it, and who qualifies.

On Sunday, Federal Health Minister Patty Hadju said people need to start taking social distancing seriously for both their health and others.

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