Magalong in Cebu City to help with contact tracing

Published July 7, 2020, 1:02 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY—The team of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong arrived here Tuesday, July 7, to help boost the city’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response.

Benjamin Magalong (JJ Landingin / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Mayor Benjamin Magalong (JJ Landingin / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Accompanied by six trainers, Magalong will be staying in the city for two and a half days to conduct training on contact tracing.

“We are not here to change the entire system. We are not here to implement something but to enhance their capacity in contact tracing,” said Magalong in a virtual press conference.

Magalong said he will be sharing the best practices that Baguio City and other municipalities in the Cordillera region in combating COVID-19.

“We are hoping that we would be able to effectively train on the various technology and system in contact tracing that we are now applying in Baguio City and in Cordillera region,” added Magalong.

Magalong said they will be training a core group composed of health workers, doctors, nurses and investigators from the Philippine National Police (PNP), and other law enforcement agencies.

Magalong emphasized the importance of having an investigator, who has cognitive interviewing skill.

“Assuming, no one has a background in cognitive interviewing skill then this is something that we will impart to the participants,” said the retired PNP general, who once headed the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Magalong said he brought with him trainers, who were experts in geographical information system (GIS) and link analysis.

Baguio’s system has two major components: the investigative skills and the COVID 19 e-system.

Magalong said the COVID-19 e-system has three components, namely, the data collection tool, the GIS platform and the analytical tool.

“We may not be able to impart thoroughly the technology for two days that’s why one of our men will stay behind in the next two weeks to ensure that everybody will be well-versed of the technology that we will apply,” Magalong said.

In tracking down possible virus carriers, Cebu City has formed 35 teams with five contact tracers each.

With more than 6,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city, it was better to add more contact tracers, said Magalong .  

Magalong emphasized that contact tracing “is the most stressful strategy in containing the virus.”

“Looking at the number of cases, 35 are not enough but I heard they are forming additional teams to augment the current teams. The more contact tracing the better,” said Magalong.

Magalong advised that as much as possible, only two cases will be assigned to one team to avoid overwhelming the contact tracers.