Issue of July 5, 2020
     
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Baguio to share practices in contact tracing to Cebu City
by Aileen P. Refuerzo / PIO

A five-man delegation from Baguio City led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong will fly to Cebu City on July 8 to share the city’s contact tracing methods to its beleaguered Central Visayas counterpart.

The team will stay for three days to train key police personnel led by Central Visayas Police Chief P/Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro to improve their contact tracing system and curb the virus transmission.

Ferro in a report said he personally sought the help of Magalong, his former boss in the Philippine National Police, to share the technology instrumental in keeping Baguio’s Covid cases at minimum.

The mayor, who earlier expressed willingness to share the technology to other local government units, readily agreed to Ferro’s request.

He earlier worked out similar trainings for Baguio’s neighboring provinces that experienced a spike in Covid-19 cases.

The system’s conceptual framework involves identifying or detection of the source and possible sources of infection; isolation of these persons; testing; and tracing of the close and remote contacts for quarantine, testing, disinfection and medical protocols.

It uses cognitive interviewing skill, a police questioning method to establish the links of a patient.

The system also involves convincing patients to disclose their identities to help in contact tracing, which is also crucial as full disclosure can help alert contacts and cut down tracing time and resources. 

Another facet is the use of a computer-aided system, which Magalong said is a powerful tool in establishing the entire picture on the links of the patients.

Executive Asst. V Philip Puzon said that through the link analysis software, a surveillance system was formulated using support, seamless coordination, and automated analysis with the following functions: enrolls and tracks suspected cases; captures symptoms, demographics, risk factors and exposures; records lab results; links confirmed cases with contacts; and monitors patient outcomes.

City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit Head Donnabel Panes said the system guides them in determining the possible source of infection and who might have been infected.

It helps determine contacts the patients might have infected and therefore who will be subjected to tests and quarantine or medical interventions.

The city has 20 contact tracing teams with a total of 634 members.


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