Health Information and Tools >  Coronavirus disease (COVID 19): Care instructions after you leave the emergency department or urgent care centre
Facebook Tweet Email Share

Main Content

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), you must isolate yourself (self-isolate). 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 washroom 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

To learn more, visit www.alberta.ca/isolation.aspx.

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.

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

If you’re an adult and have any of these symptoms, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days after your symptoms started or until your symptoms are gone, whichever is longer.

For children and anyone over 18 years of age attending high school, use the daily screening checklist every day before they go to school, child care, or other activities. If your child has symptoms, follow the advice on the checklist.

If you are tested, follow instructions at ahs.ca/results based on your test results.

Other symptoms can include:

  • stuffy nose
  • painful swallowing
  • headache
  • chills
  • muscle or joint aches
  • feeling unwell in general
  • feeling more tired than usual or having no energy at all
  • feeling sick to your stomach (nausea), throwing up, diarrhea (watery stool), or not feeling hungry
  • loss of sense of smell or taste
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis)

If you have any of the other symptoms, stay home and limit your contact with others until your symptoms go away.

If you have children at home

Use the daily screening checklist every day before your child goes to school, child care, or other activities. If your child has symptoms, follow the advice on the checklist.

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.
  • Use acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) if you have body aches, a headache, or fever. Follow the instructions on the package.
  • Don’t take antihistamines such as Benadryl or Reactine to manage COVID-19 symptoms. These medicines can make your nasal drainage thicker.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed.

To learn more about caring for yourself at home, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/Alberta/Pages/How-to-manage-symptoms.aspx

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 MyHealth.Alberta.ca/Alberta/Pages/COVID-19-care-instr-after-ER-UCC.aspx.

Related to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Translations

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

Current as of: November 2, 2020

Author: Emergency Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services

Care instructions may be adapted by your healthcare provider. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, talk with your doctor or appropriate healthcare provider.