Contact tracing improvement eyed

BAGUIO CITY – (March 31, 2021) – Mayor Benjamin Magalong wants contact tracing revitalized as a Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection control measure in face of the current surge in cases.

The mayor admitted that contact tracing efficiency ratio had declined due to a number of factors and this needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

He said the country still has low contact tracing efficiency ratio due to three factors: local government units concentrate only on first generation contacts of patients who are mostly members of the households; inefficient encoding system; and insufficient number of contact tracers.

He said contact tracing should go beyond the first generation contacts or F1 to effectively control the transmission while encoding system must be enhanced for better recording and tracking.

As to the number of contract tracing personnel, he said the country only have 30 percent of the original 50,000 hired tracers and this had taken toll on work efficiency.

“In the past, for one case, we had four contact tracers available to do the job but now it has been reversed. One contact tracer has to work on four cases and pressed for time, he cannot finish all in one day resulting to backlogs until he becomes overwhelmed,” he said.

He said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases resolved to again work on capacitating

LGU contact tracing teams through massive trainings.

“We need to concentrate on this. There are constraints but these are challenges that we need to address,” he said. — Aileen P. Refuerzo