QC hires 300 COVID-19 contact tracers

The Quezon City government has hired 300 persons for their contact tracing team to help the local government's epidemiology unit track down all coronavirus disease (COVID-19) carriers in the city.

The new hires have finished a one-day intensive contact tracing training, which tackled tracing protocols, proper donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE), and effective communication and interviews.

According to the local government, the city's current pool of contact tracers comprise registered nurses, medical technologists, Philippine National Police (PNP) contingents, and at least two persons enlisted by each barangay.  

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. 

“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,” she said, stressing that “aggressive contact tracing is key to testing the right population.”

CESU head Dr. Rolando Cruz said 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,” he said.

The local government also recently reinforced its COVID-19 Response Center by hiring an additional 25 phone profilers and 30 encoders to attend to questions and concerns from callers.

Cruz advised citizens to contact the following contact tracing hotlines if they believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 patients, or are experiencing symptoms of the disease: 8703-2759, 8703-4398, 0916-1228628, 0908-6398026; or via email at qcsurveillance@quezoncity.gov.ph and qcsurveillance@gmail.com

The hotlines are open from Monday to Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.