While in the midst of a pandemic, it's natural to freak out about whether you've been showing any symptoms. Whether you're showing any signs of sickness or none at all, this test might give you a little peace of mind. That's why the provincial government launched an Alberta COVID-19 self-assessment tool on Friday, March 13, that tells you if you need to get tested.
Since the official Health Link line and other health authority phone numbers have been getting bombarded by concerned residents in the province, this tool should make things much easier for Albertans.
According to Alberta Health Service's official statement, the tool "will guide Albertans to answer questions about symptoms and take them through steps to help determine whether they need testing."
Before you can access the self-assessment tool, the notice tells you that the current testing capabilities are mainly focused on people who've travelled outside Canada, had contact with someone infected, or those who are just showing symptoms of COVID-19.
We tried the tool, which you can access here, to find out what sort of questions would be asked along the process.
Firstly, if anyone taking the questionnaire is experiencing severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, having a hard time waking up, feeling confused, or has lost consciousness, they should just call 911.
There is no time to mess around with those intense symptoms.
In case your situation isn't quite as extreme but you're still having difficulty breathing or you're having a hard time managing chronic health conditions, then you need to call the Health Link line, that is, 811.
If none of these circumstances apply to you, you'll then be asked a few questions to determine whether you need to get on the phone and dial 811.
The questions range from asking about symptoms such as fever, cough, or sore throat, to finding out whether you've had close contact with someone who's confirmed to have COVID-19.
The tool also inquires whether you've done recent travelling in any locations outside Canada in the past 14 days.
All in all, if you're experiencing symptoms, have recent international travel history, or have been in close contact who had COVID-19, you should call 811.
But the tool takes care of all other combinations that might be leaving you uncertain. So at least you know where you stand before you make that call.
On Friday, March 13, as part of Alberta Health's daily press conferences, the province's Health Minister, Tyler Shandro, said the self-assessment tool is the same one that's used by Health Link to determine whether Albertans need to be tested for COVID-19.
"At this time, anyone requiring testing will still need to be referred to an assessment centre depending on the result of the online assessment," he said, on Friday, March 13.
Due to the high volume of calls that the 811 number is receiving on a daily basis, as confirmed by Shandro himself in the press conference, this could be a helpful tool to answer our concerns.