Claresholm women confused by COVID self-isolation requirements
Dollar Store employee Kathy Asham has been tested three times for COVID-19, and despite testing negative, has been forced to isolate at home, taking days off work
CLARESHOLM, ALTA. -- When the province rolled out its health precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 back in mid-March, it had one priority which was to stop the spread of the virus. But along the way, there has been some confusion about when to stay home.
“I have been tested three times for COVID,” said Your Dollar Store employee Kathy Asham, in an interview with CTV News.
Every time Asham was tested she has been forced to stay home, taking unpaid sick days from work.
“I have to isolate because that’s the law or what they say and I felt guilty taking days off to wait for the test to come back,” said Asham.
She originally was seeking medical advice for what she thought was a cold.
“Referred by Alberta Health because I had a cold which turned into a sinus infection. So I got my test in Calgary,” said Asham.
She says a healthcare worker told her to isolate until the result came back. It was negative but she still felt terrible and ended up getting tested twice more after visits to healthcare providers.
“You go to the hospital clearly right there in front of the hospital you can check right at the door. Any symptoms, automatic COVID test,” said Asham.
The whole ordeal even gave her tons of anxiety with her work.
“I thought well I’m imposing on them because they just opened. Everyone needs to be here to keep this store alive,” said Asham.
An Alberta Health Spokesperson said, “We recognize that getting tested and waiting for results can take a few days and that this can be inconvenient. We encourage employees and employers to work together to address any issues as they arise. Getting tested is in everyone’s best interest.
"You are legally required to self-isolate if you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat that is not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition," they said, continuing. "You do not have to isolate if you have symptoms of illness that are related to a pre-existing illness or health condition, and are not new.”
As it turns out, Asham didn’t need to self-isolate since she was suffering from pre-existing conditions. She confirmed to CTV News she had pre-existing sinus conditions and allergies.
For information about the special circumstances where someone may not need to self-isolate, such as a pre-existing condition, we encourage Albertans to check the AHS website.