The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has hired more contact tracers for the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) so that possible carriers of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) are immediately identified and isolated.
Alfreiner Partido, Local Government Operations Officer at the DILG-CAR, on Tuesday said there were 571 contact tracers who were initially hired and trained. They started working on Oct. 1.
An additional 283 were deployed in November, bringing to 854 the total number of contact tracers in the region.
The last two batches of contact tracers, composed of 100 and 183 persons, were deployed on Nov. 9 and 23, respectively.
“May spike ng cases sa Benguet, particularly sa Tuba, Itogon at La Trinidad kaya nagdagdag po tayo ng contact tracers (we added more contact tracers because of the spike in cases [Covid-19] in Benguet particularly in Tuba, Itogon and La Trinidad),” Partido said.
Out of the number, 153 are assigned in Abra; 64 in Apayao; 178 in Baguio City; 217 in Benguet; 90 in Ifugao; 105 in Kalinga; and 47 in Mountain Province.
Partido said that those hired in the Cordillera are part of the 50,000 contact tracers hired nationwide and are paid from the PHP5-billion allocation under the Bayanihan 1 and 2 which allowed the hiring of contact tracers to help the government curb the spread of Covid-19.
The DILG said the contact tracers get a monthly salary of PHP18,737.
“There are still 54 to be hired,” Partido added.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, the country’s contact tracing czar repeatedly reiterated the importance of the function of the contact tracers in identifying spreaders of the virus.
He said that close contact of Covid-19 positive patients who are possible carriers need to be immediately identified, quarantined, tested, and isolated.
As of Nov. 26, the city has 40 contact tracing teams with 1,006 members who are composed of policemen, medical personnel, Barangay Health Emergency Teams (BHERT), and the 176 hired by the DILG.
Magalong said the city is able to trace about 80 to 90 percent of the close contacts of Covid-19 positive patients who are also subjected to swab test.
“The more you test, the higher you perform. If you reach your contact tracing efficiency ratio, talagang dadami ang kaso (your cases will increase). What is important is you get the real situation on the ground, you get the real figure, mas mataas ang (the higher your) situational awareness mo so iyong (your) tactical action strategic decisions will be more responsive to the prevailing situation,” he said. (PNA)