2 LGUs defend their contact tracing efforts

·2 min read

THE head of the contact tracing team in Mandaue City and the deputy chief implementer at the Emergency Operations Center in Cebu City do not think their efforts have been all for naught.

“I don’t think it is a failure,” said Julius Ceasar Entise, a lawyer. “Although we only have 40 contact tracers, we never fell short of what we are expected to do.”

As far as Mandaue City is concerned, he said the number of contact tracers is sufficient.

Cebu City, too, has more than enough contact tracers to trace individuals who’ve been in contact with persons who test positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), according to City Councilor Joel Garganera.

Garganera said they have 955 registered and trained contact tracers, who are grouped into 173 teams composed of both civilians and uniformed personnel.

Reaction

Entise and Garganera were reacting to the statement of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, contact tracing czar, who said local government units failed to sustain their contact tracing efforts to curb the surge in Covid-19 cases in the country and to improve data collection.

Entise said his team finishes the contact tracing on the night the test result comes out.

Aside from looking into first generation contacts, his team also contact traces second generation contacts, he said.

But Entise emphasized that contact tracing is not a silver bullet. He said this must be augmented with other mitigating measures, such as the government-imposed public health protocols.

As for the Covid-19 situation in Cebu City, Garganera said they only need 321 contract tracers to do the job.

He said the City’s contact tracers include personnel of the City Health Department, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Armed Forces of the Philippines and job orders.

“We have more than enough,” Garganera said. (KFD, JJL)