TAGBILARAN CITY—The province of Bohol started to use contact tracing cards in the first week of July as a health management tool to track coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection in the province even as it continues to manage and regulate the entry of locally stranded individuals (LSIs).
Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said that the quick response (QR) code contract tracing cards helps in easily tracking down individuals, who may have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. “We will move on from there in our continuing response to the health crises,” he said.
Yap explained that each contact tracing card has a QR code that contains data as to the places where its holder has gone. The data will only be used to trace those individuals present in places at the same time with anyone that will test positive for COVID-19.
A QR code is a mobile phone readable bar code that can store website URLs, plain text, phone numbers, email addresses and pretty much any other alphanumeric data.
It was also bared that, during the videoconference of the governors’ league with the Department of Health (DOH) in June, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) endorsed the StaySafe application which Bohol was also adopting.
The application was reviewed by the Department of Information and Communications (DITC), National Privacy Commission (NPC), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and DOH.
Based on the evaluation, a component of the application was removed so that its use would be strictly for contact tracing related to COVID-19 only.
LGUs may use contact tracing apps other than the StaySafe only if the channeling of all information to the DOH COVID-19 guide can be efficient.
Yap had earlier cited Bohol’s contact tracing capacity and operationalization of RT-PCR testing facilities as critical factors for tourism reopening under the new normal.
Meanwhile, to ease some of the economic burdens of Boholanos due to quarantine, the province distributed the second wave of rice subsidy for every home this July. The governor described this as the widest food subsidy amid the economic and life disruptions brought about by COVID-19.
Yap said that the province has allocated some P150-million for the staple food subsidy program, which is part of the ‘We Survive as One Bohol’ to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic.
Yap said that this was timely as the city and municipal local government units (LGUs) focused their resources on quarantine and COVID-19 related responses. Numerous economic activities and movements are still slow despite Bohol’s current modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status.
“A number or most of the LGUs here can hardly afford another wave of rice support and other relief foods as their resources are drying up for other COVID-19 responses,” Yap added.
He noted this situation during his various visits to island barangays in Eastern and Western Cabul-an in Buenavista and other remote communities in the province. The Office of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (OPSWD) bared that 952 families in Barangay Cabul-an in Buenavista town received packs of five kilos of rice and canned goods for each household.
Yap and his team of Board Second District Board Member Franz Gelaine Garcia, OPSWD head Carmelita Tecson, Buenavista Mayor Dave Duallo, Vice Mayor Christine Torregosa and Councilor Rey Celocia visited and distributed about a thousand food packs to islanders in Bohol since April.