Quezon City to deploy more contact tracers
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - July 31, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government will deploy more contact tracers and open additional isolation facilities next month to further strengthen response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Mayor Joy Belmonte announced yesterday.

Belmonte said the situation in the city remains manageable, citing the high recovery rate among residents who have contracted the disease.

“We have three quarantine facilities with 500 beds. By the end of August, we are looking toward having 1,500 beds,”she said during the press briefing with presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

“By the middle of August, we will have 600 contact tracers in 72 teams going around the city to make sure that we can trace the close contacts of COVID positive patients,” Belmonte added.

As of Wednesday, there were 6,170 validated COVID-19 cases in the city. Of the figure, 2,513 are active cases, 3,363 recoveries and 294 deaths.

While Quezon City is the second highest in terms of COVID numbers, Belmonte said the city is 16th among local government units with regard to density of cases per 100,000 population.

Quezon City has over 3.1 million residents.

“This shows that even though there are challenges, we are able to manage COVID-19,” Belmonte said. “Since May 26, we recorded more recovered cases than active cases.”

The mayor attributed the high recovery rate to the early establishment of isolation facilities where COVID-19 patients are immediately given medical attention.

Belmonte also cited the enforcement of special concern lockdowns in areas with community transmission to prevent the spread of the virus.

The city government has released the guidelines to boost contact tracing and enforcement of health protocols in companies with 100 or more employees.

Belmonte said the measures would help speed up contact tracing in workplaces with large manpower, such as call centers.

Under the policy, companies are directed to conduct contact tracing of all close contacts of COVID-19 patients.

The companies must require close contacts to complete the mandatory 14-day home quarantine even if they are asymptomatic.

The management of the firms should undertake swab testing of the close contacts if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath and body pains.

“In either case, close contacts should not be allowed to report to work immediately upon identification as such, and should be required to isolate at home,” Belmonte said.

The close contact may end quarantine when the patient ends the 14-day quarantine without symptoms, as confirmed by a physician or a certification showing a negative swab test.

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