THE Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) now has 400 contact tracers, up from 250 in January.
It used to have 600 contact tracers last year, but the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) didn’t renew most of their contracts when these expired last December, while others were deployed elsewhere, said City Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC deputy chief implementer.
In a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Visayas chief implementer Ret. Gen. Melquiades Feliciano said the EOC only adjusted to the prevailing situation in the city, adding that it was “just practical” for them to save on manpower.
Feliciano said the EOC was not immediately able to adjust to the recent rise in the number of daily coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases, but that has changed and all the manpower and other logistics are in place.
Garganera said many of the new contact tracers are rehires, adding that the DILG continues to hire additional contact tracers.
As of Feb. 18, 115 contact tracers were added to the EOC’s roster.
Garganera said they’ve also brought in 70 police personnel who underwent training on contact tracing to help on top of the existing personnel under the City Health Department.
He said they’ve deployed more than 90 teams to conduct contact tracing and swabbing.
He said the EOC continues to trace, isolate and treat Covid-19 patients round the clock.
Meanwhile, Feliciano said their focus now is on awareness programs with more establishments being allowed to open as part of the City’s efforts to revive the economy.
Feliciano said 19 percent of individuals who get tested daily in Cebu City test positive for Covid-19.
As of Thursday, Feb. 18, the Department of Health data showed that Cebu City had 2,864 active cases after it logged 282 new Covid-19 cases, 86 recoveries and one death for the day. (JJL)