By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio City Police Office appointed more investigators and intelligence personnel to team up with the City Health Services Team in tracking down contacts of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in the past days.
BCPO Director Police Col. Allen Rae Co immediately responded the order of Mayor Benjamin Magalong and appointed six more Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)-trained investigators to the pool of contract tracers so that they now have 20 in the field, 14 from the BCPO, and six from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said the city has several contact tracing teams currently working double time. She said one patient has an average of 50 contacts while some have as high as 100.
Magalong said they are exerting more effort to convince patients to disclose their identities to help in the contact tracing.
Currently, 12 out of 30 patients responded to the Mayor’s call for transparency. “This is crucial as full disclosure helps alert contacts and cut down the tracing time and resources,” Magalong said.
To supplement the contact tracers’ efforts, the city also utilizes a computer-aided system as a complementary tool.
Philip Puzon, Executive Assistant V, 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.
The tracer program strengthens active case detection through contact tracing activities such as identification and follow-up of contacts of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case.