The Quezon City government has recently completed hiring a pool of 300 contact tracers to help contain the spread of new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the city.
Mayor Joy Belmonte said augmenting the staff of the city’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) has been one of the priorities of the local government since the onset of the pandemic.
“Aggressive contact tracing is key to testing the right population. We have to keep pace with new infections by forming many groups of contact tracers who will be able to immediately identify those who have been in close contact with COVID-19 patients,” said Belmonte.
According to CESU head Dr. Rolando Cruz, the newly-hired contact tracers are tasked to trace individuals who have been in direct contact with a COVID-19 patient based on their narrative and activities for the past two weeks.
“We have formed 30 teams of contact tracers. Through them, our goal is to inform and educate those who have been exposed about quarantine protocols to reduce transmission,” said Cruz.
Hired contact tracers, Cruz added, have undergone one-day intensive contact tracing training which includes topics on tracing protocols, proper donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE), and effective communication and interviews.
The city's current pool of contact tracers, who were chosen from a thousand applicants, are now comprised of registered nurses, medical technologists, Philippine National Police contingents, and at least two persons enlisted by each barangay.
Likewise, the local government has recently reinforced its COVID-19 Response Center by adding 25 phone profilers and 30 encoders to attend to questions and concerns from callers.
The hotlines are open from Monday to Saturday, between 8AM and 5PM.