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DOH-7 tells LGUs: Use raw data for contact tracing only, not for announcements

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | July 06,2020 - 09:52 PM

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche (right), DOH-7 chief pathologist and spokesperson for COVID-19 matters, says that local government units should not share raw data on COVID-19 cases but they should wait for the validated data from the agency before making announcements. |screen grab from virtual presser

CEBU CITY, Philippines — While discrepancies continue between government offices’ data on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the Central Visayas, the Department of Health in Central Visayas’ (DOH-7) called on local government units (LGUs) to wait for the validated data coming from their agency before making announcements.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH-7 chief pathologist and spokesperson for COVID-19 matters, said while they share their raw data to the LGUs, the latter should only use the data from the laboratories for contact tracing and not as a basis for announcing new cases.

Loreche said that on their protocols, the testing laboratories transmit the results of the tests to the LGUs concerned, for contact tracing, and the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) for validation.

“For contact tracing purposes, once they (LGUs) have positive results, they have to be informed immediately (by the laboratories). It is part of our efforts to streamline the data that once the laboratory releases a positive result, they are among those that are immediately informed,” Loreche said in a mixed Cebuano and English.

However, Loreche said the LGUs should wait for the validated data before making announcements in order for the government agencies to have a synchronized data and avoid confusion.

RESU’s process of data validation includes the tracing if a test result is a new case or a repeat test and cross-checking double-entry of names from previously confirmed cases.

“Once RESU is able to validate the data, it relays the information to the LGUs. Therefore, the LGU should not preempt the release of the data that have yet to be validated by RESU,” Loreche said in a virtual press conference.

“That is the correct system and for as long as that is not followed, the figures will never match,” she added.

READ: Cebu City breaches 6K mark in COVID-19 cases on July 5

In Cebu City, for instance, the City Health Department had declared that the city has a total of 6,141 confirmed cases as of July 5, of which 152 new cases were added on the same date.

But on DOH-7’s data for July 5, Cebu City already has 6,761 COVID-19 cases, of which 141 were added on the same day.

The discrepancy on the number of cases is now at 620.

READ: Cebu City Health ceases release of COVID-19 info

Mandaue City, on the other hand, has declared a total of 1,036 cases as of July 5 but the DOH-7’s data shows that the city already has 1,039 cases.

For recoveries, on the other hand, Loreche said it was the responsibility of the LGUs and their respective local health offices to report to the RESU if they had new recoveries.

While RESU informs the LGUs about their new cases, Loreche said the latter should also inform their office about what had happened to their cases for proper monitoring.

READ: DOH-7 vows to improve links with LGUs after Talisay data discrepancy

Last June 15, data discrepancy which showed that Talisay City had zero recoveries, when the LGU’s data showed over 40 recovered cases, which supposedly caused the city to be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine, the second-highest quarantine control status./dbs

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