The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID)-Visayas has deployed the first batch of 26 swabbers who will be helping in the city’s contact tracing in 80 villages here.
In a statement, the IATF-EID said the swabbers received their training from the Department of Health (DOH) before they met on Friday with the officials of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and contact tracing teams “to discuss coordination mechanisms, as well as address emerging issues and concerns in the field”.
Melquiades Feliciano, who is helping Cebu overseer and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, said the swabbers will play a crucial role in the fight against coronavirus diseases (Covid-19).
“Because we will have massive contact tracing, dadami ang isu-swab natin (many will undergo swabbing). Before, we only had five contact tracing teams, so talagang nagkaroon ng (we had so many) backlog. Bibilis ang sistema natin ngayon (We will have a faster system) because of your presence,” Feliciano said.
Feliciano expressed optimism that with the deployment of the 26 swabbers, the frontliners can trace more suspected Covid-19 cases and subject them to swabbing.
“With each passing day na hindi tayo nakakapag-contact trace at swab, talagang mahirap ma-contain ang (that we were not able to trace and swab, we find it hard to contain the) virus. Now, we have a fighting chance”.
Councilor Joel Garganera, the deputy chief implementer for EOC in the city, said the contact tracers and swabbers should develop good rapport to produce timely and accurate data.
“Time is very vital here. The contact tracers should give the swabbers the list of persons to be swabbed at the soonest possible time,” Garganera noted.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will support swabbers and contact tracers in case they encounter difficulties in dealing with barangay officials, DILG Assistant Secretary for Public Safety, and Security Alexander Macario said.
“If there are uncooperative barangay officials, file an incident report so we can issue them a show cause order,” Macario said.
The IATF-EID earlier bared plans to intensify the testing and contact tracing for Covid-19 patients to hasten the control of the rising cases in the city.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said the country plans to hire 50,000 contact tracers to aid in the increased testing in the various local government units.
In the city, Mayor Edgardo Labella said 80 teams of contact tracers started their training last June 30.
The city targets 1,000 to 3,000 tests daily to hit the IATF’s target of 6,000 capacity. (PNA)