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Coronavirus disease (COVID 19): Care instructions after you leave the emergency department or urgent care centre

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Care instructions after you leave the emergency department or urgent care centre

This information has been translated into other languages – see the links at the bottom of this page.

You don’t need to stay in the hospital. You can stay at home while you wait for your COVID-19 test results and recover from your illness.

Call 911 if you:

  • develop new or more trouble breathing
  • develop new or worsening chest pain
  • are confused or not thinking clearly
  • pass out (lose consciousness)

Call your healthcare provider or Health Link at 811 or get medical care if:

  • your symptoms don’t get better within 7 to 14 days
  • you start getting better, then get worse
  • you think your medicine isn’t working or you’re having side effects from it
  • you have signs and symptoms of dehydration such as:
    • a very dry mouth
    • passing only a small amount of urine
    • feeling light-headed

Call your healthcare provider:

  • for a follow-up appointment
  • if you have any non-urgent problems or questions
  • if it’s been more than 5 days and you still don’t have your COVID-19 test results

Isolate yourself

After you leave the emergency department (ED) or urgent care centre (UCC), it's recommended that you isolate yourself. This means that you:

  • stay home and away from others
  • only leave your home if you need to get medical care
  • don’t use public transportation (such as bus or train)
  • wear a face mask if you need to be around others, such as people in your own home or if you get medical care
  • cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (then throw it in the trash right away and clean your hands)
  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – If you don’t have soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and face
  • try to stay away from others in your home and have only 1 healthy person caring for you (if needed)
  • stay in a separate bedroom and use a separate bathroom from everyone else in your home (if possible)
  • don't share personal household items such as bedding, towels, dishes, eating utensils, and electronic devices
  • clean and disinfect your home every day with household cleaners and disinfectant wipes or sprays

Follow the advice you get about when it's safe for you to stop isolating. If you’re not sure, call Health Link at 811.

To learn more about isolation recommendations go to isolation recommendations.

About COVID-19

COVID-19 is caused by a virus. COVID-19 symptoms are a lot like symptoms of the flu (influenza) or other illnesses that affect the lungs and airways (called respiratory illnesses). COVID-19 can cause:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • trouble breathing
  • sore throat
  • runny nose

Caring for yourself at home

  • Get extra rest to help you feel better.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Use an extra pillow to raise your head if coughing keeps you awake at night.
  • Don’t smoke, vape, or breathe second-hand smoke.
  • To help with body aches and headache or to lower fever, try acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) as directed on the packaging.
  • Don’t take antihistamines such as Benadryl or Reactine to manage COVID-19 symptoms. These medicines are used to help control allergy symptoms, not upper respiratory tract infections.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed.

To learn more about caring for yourself at home, go to COVID-19 Self-Care Guide

Where can I learn more?

Go to the following websites to get the latest information about COVID-19:

To see this information online and learn more, visit


Related to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Other languages

Care instructions after you leave the emergency department or urgent care centre

  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Blackfoot
  • French
  • Hindi
  • Punjabi
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tigrinya
  • Traditional Chinese
  • Vietnamese

For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.

Current as of: August 17, 2022

Author: Emergency Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services

This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.