Deployment of contact tracers - timely, crucial for Maasin City

October 21, 2020

The deployment of 10 newly-hired DILG contact tracers (CTs) in the City of Maasin proved timely and crucial as the city battles recent surges of COVID-19 cases.

October 7, 2020 could have been Day Zero, a time for orientation and familiarization for the 10 newly hired CTs in Maasin City, Southern Leyte, yet they immediately faced the urgent task of going after the close contacts, after six COVID-19 cases and an additional one case were recorded in the provincial capital on October 5 and 6 respectively.

Following a brief rundown from the City Health personnel on specific tasks such as the accomplishment of forms, call procedures, spiels and other contact tracing essentials, the CTs joined Maasin’s existing Contact Tracing Team (CTT).

On the night of October 8, another 19 confirmed cases were reported by the Department of Health (DOH), a figure that led to the identification of 405 close contacts. These numbers tell the extent of the possible spread of the virus and the urgency of tracing, testing, and containment.

Out of the 405 close contacts, 40 tested positive on October 13. Since then, Maasin City’s active cases ballooned to 100 as of October 19 from the eight active cases barely two weeks ago on October 5.

Seeing the need for more contact tracers, DILG Southern Leyte Provincial Office in coordination with the DILG Regional Office 8, provided an augmentation of 15 more contact tracers. In all, 26 CTs have been assigned in Maasin, 11 of whom are on precautionary quarantine at the former DILG Provincial Office as they will be subjected to a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. Meanwhile, the Provincial Government extended assistance by providing free accommodation to the CTs.

DILG hired 39 CTs for Southern Leyte who underwent a two-day training on October 5-6 at the Old DPWH Function Hall. Regional Director Karl Caesar R. Rimando, administered the oath-taking of CTs.

A total of 1,473 contact tracers have been assigned to different provinces in Eastern Visayas. As of October 18, the region has 800 active cases out of 5,817 total cases, with 55 deaths, and 4,962 recoveries. (DILG Southern Leyte)