The Quezon City government has called on the Department of Health (DOH) to review its case and contact tracing reporting system, as lack of information continues to hamper the city’s contact tracing efforts on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.
In a statement issued Sunday (Aug. 23), Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said local government units (LGUs) depend on the contact tracing system of the DOH to do their jobs efficiently.
“We again reiterate our call for the DOH to review their COVID KAYA system because this is where we get our information for our contact tracing efforts. Incomplete data is like looking for a needle in a haystack,” she said.
Belmonte earlier wrote a letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III about the agency’s alleged failure to provide the city government with complete information on Quezon City's COVID-19 patients, causing delays in their contact tracing efforts.
Belmonte reiterated her call after a COVID-19 patient's post about the lack of contact tracing efforts from the city government on her and her family went viral on social media.
She said the patient who made the post did not self-report to the city government and only relied on the DOH. However, the health department reportedly did not have the patient's complete contact details in its COVID KAYA case and contact tracing reporting system.
Belmonte pointed out that the COVID KAYA system tagged some 8,000 people as Quezon City residents but provided no other information that could help contact tracers confirm their existence or whereabouts.
This increased the discrepancy between city government-validated data which was at 9,817 as of August 21 and the DOH data, which placed the confirmed COVID-19 patients in Quezon City at 17, 907 on the same date.
The laboratory where the COVID-19 patient, who made the viral social media post, underwent testing also did not provide her results and contact details to the COVID KAYA system or the city government.
“We urge DOH to act on this immediately and call the attention of all laboratories and hospitals to submit complete information so that we from the LGU can do our task properly,” Belmonte said.
“How can our health workers do their jobs if we are not receiving enough information regarding the patients?” she added.
Belmonte recently issued a memorandum ordering laboratories, hospitals and disease reporting units to immediately inform the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) about COVID-19 positive patients for quick action and to avoid delays in contact tracing.
In a separate order, Belmonte encouraged residents and employees working in the city to self-report all probable, suspect, or confirmed COVID-19 cases to the CESU or the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) to ensure immediate action and to curb the spread of the virus in the communities.
Those who wish to self-report can reach the contact tracing team through email at email@example.com, QCSurveillance@quezoncity.gov.ph, firstname.lastname@example.org, or its hotline numbers 8703-2759, 8703-4398, 0916-122-8628, 0908-639-8086, 0931-095-7737 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday.