BAGUIO CITY—More than 500 Contact Tracers (CT) were trained both face-to-face and through virtual teleconference last October 1-2, 2020, as part of the government’s campaign against the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Of the 571 contact tracers, 176 were trained face-to-face in Baguio; while the remaining 395 newly hired contact tracers were trained via virtual teleconference broken down as follows; 119 in Benguet; 90 in Abra; 34 in Apayao; 50 in Ifugao; 60 in Kalinga; and 42 in Mountain Province.
During the training, the topics included overview of emergency health responses; elements and associated risks of COVID 19; analyzing contact tracing tools and processes; and, cognitive interviewing technique.
The new CT will be assigned to contact tracing teams deployed in different local government units (LGUs) throughout the region. The teams are composite units led by municipal or city health officers with members of the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams and volunteers from civil society organizations.
A contact tracer conducts interviews, profiling and performing an initial public health risk assessment of Covid-19 cases and their identified close contacts, as well as refer the close contacts to isolation facilities.
The DILG is the lead agency in contact tracing pursuant to IATF Resolution No. 25. Hence, On April 24, the DILG issued Memorandum Circular 2020-077 directing local government units to establish their own task forces against Covid-19, including contact tracing teams. The task force would give the LGUs the authority to take the lead in contact tracing efforts.
Meanwhile in Baguio, Contact Tracing Czar and City Mayor Benjamin Magalong led the oath taking of 176 contact tracers hired by the DILG to help LGU Baguio in tracing probable and suspected coronavirus disease carriers.
He said that the city still has high testing rate and contact tracing efficiency ratio and is focused on managing the situation through all control measures pursuant to the PDITR (Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate) strategies embodied in the National Action Plan 2.
“We keep on emphasizing the government movement ‘Disiplina Muna’ and people look up to us because of our responsible and disciplined citizenry. We hope we can sustain it. Bida po ang may disiplina,” he said.