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“Keep yourself safe and healthy.”
This was the order of Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong to the 176 newly hired contact tracers during their oath taking Monday, October 5 at the City Hall Park.
The contact tracers were now officially deployed to aid the employees of the city, doctors and police personnel composing the lead contact tracing team of Baguio City in tracking individuals having close interactions with Coronavirus disease patients.
“You have two objectives as contact tracers: first is to save more lives and second is to keep your community safe. You will be able to do this if you keep yourself safe and healthy,” the mayor said.
He added that of the 80 members of the core contact tracing team of the Baguio City, only two got infected of Covid-19. “I don’t want anyone of you to be part of that (Covid positive) statistics,” the mayor emphasized.
Hired by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Cordillera, the contact tracers signed a contract of service from October until end of December 2020 with a monthly salary of P18,784.
Of the 571 total slots allotted for the Cordillera Administrative Region, 176 were assigned in Baguio.
“They underwent selection process based on their qualifications as well as proper training from our key contact tracing personnel. The city now has enough contact tracers with the addition of the newly hired ones,” Mayor Magalong said.
Last month, the mayor called on the national government to organize more back-up teams as reinforcement to prevent wearing out its contact tracers and maintain work quality in the program being a vital tool in Covid-19 control.
Mayor Magalong was tapped as the country’s Contact Tracing Czar after he developed a local system of tracking contacts of Covid-19 patients, marrying investigation devices he acquired while in uniformed service with prevailing medical protocols. The contact tracing scheme is now gold standard to a number of local government units nationwide.
The target, he said is to complete at least 80- to 90-percent [identification] of a patient’s contacts within three-days; have them tested; isolated or quarantined.
Baguio’s baseline ratio for efficient contact tracing is set at 1:37 or 37 persons traced for every patient. – Jessa Samidan