DILG: Members of contact tracing teams lack training

Only a fifth of the contract tracers of various local government units in the Bicol region have been properly trained for the vital job of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

During last week’s meeting of the Provincial COVID-19 Task Force, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial director Uldarico Razal Jr. expressed his agency’s wish to make sure LGUs have their own Contract Tracing Teams whose members are trained.

He noted that based on a report on the 100 CTTs in the Bicol region with 2,000 members, only about 400 members have undergone proper training.

“Iilan pa lang ang may training sa Catanduanes,” he revealed.

Recently, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that the government needs some 82,537 contact tracers to form part of local contact tracing teams (CTTs) of local government units (LGUs) across the country who shall take charge of tracking down the close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 patients.

“Given that the there is still no vaccine or cure to COVID-19, the government needs to train and hire contact tracers who will break the chains of transmission of COVID-19 by identifying those who may have been exposed to the virus and monitoring them daily for 14 days,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

Año said that the Department has already submitted a proposal to the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) for the hiring and training of contact tracers as part of the government’s expanded contact tracing efforts to effectively manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the three active cases in Catanduanes, local contract tracers were able to identify and trace a total of 220 close contacts.

Patient Bicol #82 had 85 identified contacts, included six close contracts, one of whom tested positive for the virus and dubbed as Bicol #83. Only the six were tested while the rest were confirmed to be beyond the one-meter distance and did not have direct or prolonged contact with #82.

On the other hand, Bicol #83 had 117 identified contacts, including 17 close contracts. Of this number, 16 had negative results when tested while the rest did not have direct contact.

The third active case had only one close contact, his companion who tested negative, and 17 contacts aboard the ferry.

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