Living in a Pandemic

In late 2019, the COVID-19 virus emerged and spread rapidly across the globe. As we scrambled to stop the spread, our daily lives changed dramatically. Everyone was impacted in some way, and for some the impact was devastating: the pandemic caused lost jobs, isolation, and stress. This is a very challenging time, and it’s normal to need support. On this page, we’ve listed some frequently asked questions and resources related to family & employment during COVID-19.


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Amharic (አማርኛ) | Urdu (اردو) | Punjabi (ਪੰਜਾਬੀ) | Tagalog | Spanish (Español) | Arabic (عربى) | Hindi (हिन्दी)

+ What do I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

Click here to self-check for COVID-19 symptoms. If you are showing COVID-19 symptoms, then immediately:

  • Isolate yourself at home for 14 days to avoid spreading it to others.
  • Make sure to stay away from other members of the household. Stay in separate rooms and do not share a washroom if possible. If it is impossible to stay entirely separate, ensure at least 2 metres distance from others and wear a mask. Frequently wash shared points of contact with other family members such as doorknobs. Family members should avoid engaging in shared activities with the person who is sick, such as eating meals together, even when maintaining distance.
  • Get tested by visiting a health care professional, local public health authority or pharmacy. Wear a mask and maintain 6 feet from others at all times.

+ Where can I get tested?

In Alberta, you can get tested by visiting a healthcare professional or local public health authority. You will have to make a testing appointment and bring your Alberta Health care card. This can be done in one of three ways:

  1. Take the Alberta Health Assessment Test.
  2. Call Alberta Health Link at 811.
  3. If you show no symptoms and have no known exposure to COVID-19, you may get tested at a pharmacy. Check if your local pharmacy offers COVID-19 testing.

+ What can my family doctor do for me?

If you have a medical need — sudden flu symptoms, nagging back pain, an unexpected rash or even think you might have COVID-19 — who is your first point of contact?

A family physician can be the right answer for many healthcare situations, including COVID-19. They can help you at any stage of life. They treat a wide range of conditions and can provide you with a diagnosis and prescribe you with the necessary medication.

Family doctors know your personal and family history.

When doctors treat you for years, they get to know your medical history inside and out. That helps them make accurate diagnoses, watch for red flags regarding medications and monitor changes in your health through the years. That information is important when assessing stress and anxiety.

Family doctors do your yearly check-up. But they also can help you manage chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. They can treat acute situations such as sinus infections and injuries. They can help you throughout a pregnancy. They also can perform minor surgical procedures, such as freezing a wart or draining an abscess. These are but a few examples, and the list goes on.

Family doctors provide easier access to additional medical resources.

Most family doctors in Alberta are members of Primary Care Networks (PCNs). PCNs are groups of family doctors who work alongside nurses, mental health therapists, pharmacists, social workers and other health professionals to meet the everyday health needs of Albertans in the communities in which they live and work.

PCNs develop services that can include free workshops, after-hours care and health promotion programs. They also improve care coordination throughout the healthcare system and partner with local hospitals. Together, your family doctor and your PCN are your home base for a healthier future.

Visiting your doctor regularly improves health and saves money.

Using more primary care saves money for a healthcare system. For example, according to an insurance study, a 23% increase in primary care spending in Rhode Island led to an 18% reduction in total healthcare spending. And data suggests that adding one primary care physician (such as a family doctor) for every 10,000 people can lower hospital admissions by 5.5%, emergency room visits by 11% and surgeries by 11%.

+ What can my pharmacist do for me?

Pharmacists can:

  • Fill prescriptions and answer questions about dosage, how to take it, interactions with other medication, and potential side effects.
  • Provide a prescription in urgent or emergency situations before seeing a doctor.
  • Provide information on over-the-counter and prescription medications for your medical needs.
  • Test you for COVID-19.
  • Administer injections, such as the flu shot.
  • Provide consultations, medication, and vaccines necessary for travel.
  • Extend or modify existing prescriptions if you are unable to see your family doctor immediately.
  • Provide consultation and assessment over the phone, such as if you are isolating due to COVID-19.

+ How to look after yourself during COVID-19

It is normal to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed during this time. It is important to acknowledge your feelings and remind yourself to look after your physical and mental health. Your goal during this time is to practice self care.

We are in flu season as well as a pandemic, so taking care of physical health is important. Try to eat healthy, drink lots of fluids, and exercise, while avoiding bad habits such as eating too much junk food, or drinking alcohol more than usual.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. The pandemic and social isolation can be extremely stressful, so make sure you are getting enough sleep. Make time for yourself and your favourite pastimes such as reading, having a bath, or cooking a special meal for yourself. Maintain social connection through social media, phone, or video platforms. Just because you are staying home does not mean you can’t be connected!

If the stress feels overwhelming, consider reaching out for help, such as a counsellor. Click here to book a free session with a Healthy Minds counsellor.

+ I cannot see my relatives who live abroad

Travel restrictions have been enforced due to COVID-19 to protect society from the virus. It is for yours and others’ safety and security that travel restrictions have been placed. Aside from travel restrictions, some regions require a 14-day self-isolation period upon arrival. Calculate your time carefully to make sure you have time for quarantine when arriving in the other city/country as well as when coming back home.

However, alternative options are open. You may opt to make phone calls or even video calls using applications such as Skype. Although these methods may not allow you to be in the physical presence of your relatives, these are safer methods for the time being.

If you cannot see your relatives for reasons involving abuse or someone else is limiting your access to your family, get help from the following sources:

  • Call 403-324-SAFE (7233) to access the Family Violence Information line.
  • Call 1-888-242-2100 to contact the IRCC Client Support Centre if the case involves citizenship or immigration status.
  • Call 9-1-1 or your local police in an emergency.


Translations of this Section:

Amharic (አማርኛ) | Tigrinya (ትግርኛ) | Urdu (اردو) | Punjabi (ਪੰਜਾਬੀ) | Tagalog | Spanish (Español) | Arabic (عربى) | Hindi (हिन्दी)