Self-help contact tracing encouraged among households, workplaces

24 September 2021 – Families and organizations were encouraged to learn and practice self-help contact tracing techniques among their members to help augment contract tracing efforts in the city amid ballooning Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong told the City Hall briefing Sept. 22 that the city’s contract tracers can now hardly cope with the number of contacts of the ballooning patients.

“A contact tracer’s limit to do quality contact tracing is two to three patients per day and with the present load of 10-12 patients given the volume of our cases now, naturally they will be overwhelmed,” the mayor said.

He said the city’s contact tracing efficiency also suffered and went down to a ratio of one contact tracer to six contacts in the past two weeks from the previous 1:113 due to exhaustion and other factors like many of the patients are now working from home reducing the number of contacts and deficiencies in the encoding.

“Despite the fact that they are stressed out, they are hanging on and I think their moral obligation to save lives has become their driving force,” he said.

Mischelle Junio, data analyst and member of the city’s Lead Contact Tracing Team said families and work organizations must be empowered to do their contact tracing to help the undermanned team of 100 tracers.

She said the obligation to contact trace does not lie on the city government alone but also on the patient’s circle. 

She said even children can be taught simple contact tracing ways like keeping a list or diary of places they went to and persons they were with so that if in case they fell ill, they can easily to refer to their list.

They can also assume the responsibility of informing their contacts of their condition and advise them to go watch out for symptoms or go on quarantine.

Home quarantine means separate room and kitchen utensils.  Suspected cases should not eat alongside housemates.  House should be kept well-ventilated and disinfected.  All members of household must protect themselves, wear masks, wash hands frequently and observe proper hygiene.

Contact tracing is being done by the different district health centers and with the scant number of tracers and the medical officers assuming double if not triple roles like supervising the vaccination campaign and health concerns of their district, tracing 14 contacts per patient at 256 patients per day is almost an impossible task.

By learning and practicing their own contact tracing, homes and offices could lift some responsibilities off their shoulders.

The team is open to conducting contact tracing trainings for individuals and groups and may be contacted for inquiries through Cel. No. +639275037688.  The trainings are for self-enrichment, not for hiring purposes – Aileen P. Refuerzo