An official of the Department of Interior and Local Government on Monday appealed to the public to cooperate with contact tracers to help stop the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“We appeal to the public in case you are contacted by a contact tracing team of a LGU, please do your utmost to cooperate and give the necessary information,” Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said during the media forum of the Department of Health, Monday.
“We will never be able to cut the transmission if we not able to identify the close contacts. The only way to stop COVID-19 is if we are able to cut the transmission, and the only way we can cut the transmission is if we can immediately test and isolate those people needed to be tested and isolated. The only way we can identify that is through our contact tracing program,” he added.
Contact tracing is done either through call or face to face interview.
When asked how the public can validate if the person is an actual contact tracer, Malaya replied with this:”if face to face, please insist on looking for the identification card (ID) from the local government unit (LGU) identifying them as part of contact tracing team.”
He said one may also validate with the BHERTs or the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) that work closely with the Local Epidemiology and Surveillance Units and Contact Tracing Teams in finding confirmed COVID-19 patients.
Malaya, meantime, revealed the hiring of the first batch of more than 10,000 contact tracers (CTs).
“The Bayanihan 2 gave the DILG the authority to hire at least 50,000 contact tracers nationwide,” he said.
“We actually hired the first batch of 10,136 contact tracers and we have almost 55,000 applicants nationwide. We intend to expedite the hiring until we reach our commitment to Congress to hire 50,000 contact tracers,” added Malaya.
He said since most of those that were hired already finished the training, they expect to deploy them to the different LGUs thie week so they can start with their work as contact tracers.
The DILG already announced that it will not set any deadline for the hiring of the 50,000 CTs nationwide but has resorted to continuous hiring to fill up and employ personnel for the remaining slots.