Incomplete DOH data hampers Quezon City contact tracing
The lack of available information from the outset, specifically addresses and contact numbers, amounting to half of all cases reported, hampers contact tracing by days,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
Incomplete DOH data hampers Quezon City contact tracing
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - August 7, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government has asked the Department of Health (DOH) to provide complete information pertaining to positive cases of coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 to hasten the city’s contact tracing efforts.

“The lack of available information from the outset, specifically addresses and contact numbers, amounting to half of all cases reported, hampers contact tracing by days,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Belmonte said the lack of information forces frontliners to spend time looking for the needed data from other possible sources, including social media.

She said the city government had to allocate resources to coordinate with disease reporting units, laboratories and hospitals to request information about COVID-19 cases.

For instance, Belmonte cited the update reported by the health agency in its COVID KAYA system, which logged additional 1,224 cases in the city.

Of the number, 401 are already recorded in the City’s Epidemiological Surveillance Unit master file, meaning the patients have been contact traced by the CESU.

Some 241 cases have addresses and contact numbers, or were reported by the city health department.

Belmonte said 573 or 47 percent of the cases have no addresses or contact numbers, forcing the CESU to label them as “unknown.”

“This means that almost half of the reported cases tagged as QC in the KAYA info system have no addresses and contact numbers, posing a major challenge in contact tracing,” she said, adding that it is possible these cases may not even be residents of the city.

Belmonte said the DOH also failed to provide information about hospitals and laboratories that conducted the swab tests of 35 positive cases.

She appealed to Duque to set the direction in improving data quality for rapid contact tracing.

“As we increase our investment in logistics and human resources for contact tracing, we hope that local government efforts are matched by leadership and action from the DOH in improving data quality,” Belmonte  said.

As of Tuesday, the DOH had recorded 7,355 cases in Quezon City. Of the figure, only 7,280 have addresses, with the CESU completing validation of 7,245. There are 2,250 active cases, with 4,695 recoveries and 309 deaths.

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