Baguio beefs up contact tracing efforts

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The contact tracing teams of the city government of Baguio is being expanded amid the recent and sudden increase of Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases.

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong have tapped the Philippine National Police Cordillera and the Department of Health Cordillera to augment the contact tracing teams in the city as well as assist other local government units in the region.

The training of additional contact tracing personnel came in heels of the sudden increase of Covid-19 cases in Baguio which is being attributed to the expanded testing of high risk sectors particularly frontliners and those with Covid-like symptoms, senior citizens, vendors, drivers, and workers of business establishments allowed to operate.

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Magalong, named as the country’s contact tracing czar, developed a local system of tracking contacts of Covid-19 patients using his background in the military called cognitive interviewing skill and added counselling and health protocols of the medical sector through the City Health Services Office (CSHO).

Baguio has 22 contact tracing teams composed of over 600 personnel from the Baguio City Police Office and the CHSO.

He said with the expanded testing, additional contact tracing teams have to be trained as support groups.

“In extreme cases, we can tap the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” the mayor said.

“Our target is to complete at least 80 to 90 percent of a patient’s contacts within three days, have them tested, isolated or quarantined,” Magalong explained.

Dr. Donnabel Panes, City Epidemiologist, said they private institutions are also encouraged to formulate their own contact tracing teams to be trained the city for free.

Recently, the Philippine Economic Authority Zone (PEZA), hospitals in the city and several academe and business establishments have sought the assistance of the city for the training of their own contact tracing units.

By: Jessa Mardy Samidan

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