OVER 69,000 contact tracers have been deployed nationwide to track down and manage close contacts of persons who tested positive for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
So far, they have traced 47,474 out of 48,371 confirmed cases and their 161,975 close contacts, according to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año.
In Cebu City, DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Sunday, July 19, 2020, that 31 contact tracing teams with 149 members assigned in Cebu City have 99 percent efficiency in preventing transmission of the virus.
So far, 7,589 out of 7,685 Covid-19 cases have been traced, and 9,828 contacts have been assessed. “We have been seeing a downward trend in the city, and this is partly because of the work of our contact tracers,” Malaya said.
Nationwide as of July 17, Año said 5,215 contact tracing teams, or a total of 69,098 contact tracers, have been deployed. These brought the country’s contact tracing capacity to 98.2 percent.
“Our local contact tracing teams nationwide are working double-time to interrupt the transmission and reduce the spread of infection. This way, we can cover all the bases in the end-to-end trace-test-treat (T3) management system against this virus,” Año said.
Año said Mimaropa, Bicol, Zamboanga Peninsula, Caraga, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao have 100 percent contact tracing capability.
Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas and Cagayan Valley have the lowest capability at 87.47 percent, 80.11 percent, and 74.41 percent, respectively.
Año said they were still expecting an increase in contact tracers as many volunteers have been offering to help search for and monitor those who have had close contacts with Covid-19 cases.
“We are also awaiting the approval of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to our proposal of hiring at least 50,000 contact tracers to further intensify our contact tracing efforts,” he said.
Meanwhile, Año welcomed the appointment of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong as the contact tracing czar.
Año said Magalong’s expertise in the field owing to his experience as former chief of the PNP Central Investigation and Detection Group will greatly contribute to the country’s tracing efforts.
“With Mayor Benjie leading the government’s contact tracing efforts, I am sure that the country’s contact tracing capability will significantly improve,” he said. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)