Baguio City Mayor Magalong in Cebu City to share COVID-19 contact tracing expertise
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Mayor Benjamin Magalong is in Cebu City to share “best practices” which helped in their campaign against the spread of the coronavirus disease in Baguio City and Cordillera.
In a press briefing this morning, July 7, Magalong said that there was no need to introduce a new contact tracing system here. All that needs to be done is to enhance the capability of the existing contact tracers in Cebu City and increase their number.
“We are not here to change the entire system or to implement anything. We are here to train. Gusto namin ishare sa kanila ang aming best practice sa Baguio at Cordillera,” said Magalong.
The Baguio City arrived in Cebu City on Tuesday morning together with a six-man team that will help train police investigators and health workers here.
He met with Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, the Inter-Agency Task Force overseer in Cebu, and Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella before he spoke in a virtual press conference with Cebu reporters.
Magalong said that Labella will still have the final say on whether or not he will adopt techniques and ideas that they will share during the training that will start on Wednesday, July 8. The training is expected to last from two days to a week’s time depending on the needs of the participants.
Ideally, Magalong said that each of the contact tracing teams should have at least one health care professional like a doctor and a police investigator.
The police investigator in the team will handle the conduct of the cognitive interview, a method of interviewing the victims and possible eyewitnesses, to get a clearer picture of what actually transpired in a crime scene.
He said that there is also the technical side that will already involve the use of data collection tools, General Information Sheet (GIS), and other analytical tools.
“Umpisahan natin sa (Let us start with doing) cognitive interviewing, maybe it will take one day. As for the e-system, I brought with me six trainers in different areas such as GIS and link analysis. Isa sa aming (one of our) team [members] will have to stay behind to help set up the technology,” said Magalong.
Magalong also said that the 35 existing contact tracing teams in Cebu City are not sufficient in comparison with the number of COVID-19 cases here that already reached more than 6, 000.
He said there is a need to recruit more individuals to do the job because contract tracing is the “most stressful” part in containing the spread of the infection.
Each of the teams should only be made to handle one or two cases since the process takes days to complete. Handling more cases will already overwhelm the team, Magalong said.
“If you can hire more teams, I would recommend that,” he told Labella during the gathering.
Mayor Labella, for his part, said that the city is targeting to come up with a total of 80 contact tracing teams that will consist of five members each. One each will be assigned to the city’s 80 barangays.
Labella said that the city government had been hiring contact tracers since June to augment their existing manpower. He intends to continue with hiring more as Magalong suggested. / dcb
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