Belmonte: Incomplete DOH COVID-19 patient data slows contact tracing in QC
MANILA, Philippines — Incomplete information on some COVID-19 patients gathered by the Department of Health (DOH) has delayed contact tracing in Quezon City, the city government said Thursday.
In a letter to Francisco Duque III dated Aug. 4, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte raised concerns on the failure by DOH to give complete information which led to contact tracing being delayed by days.
“The lack of available information from the outset, specifically addresses and contact numbers, amounting to half of all cases reported, delays contact tracing by days,” Belmonte said in a statement on Thursday.
Citing data from the city’s COVID-19 information system, Belmonte said 1,224 new cases of COVID-19 were reported from Aug. 1 to Aug. 2.
Of the total, Belmonte said 573 or 47 percent have no addresses or contact numbers listed.
“This means that almost half of the reported cases tagged as QC in the KAYA info system for these days have no addresses and contact numbers, posing a major challenge in contact tracing,” Belmonte said.
COVID KAYA is a mobile application used by DOH for contact tracing. Users from barangay health stations and rural health units at municipal, city, province, and regional level encode COVID-19 data on suspects and confirmed cases and their contacts in COVID KAYA.
Belmonte added that the health department also failed to state which hospitals or laboratories had conducted swab tests on some 35 COVID-19 cases in the city.
Belmonte suggested that DOH should improve its collection of patient data.
“With that, we appeal to your good office as Secretary of Health to set the vision and direction in improving data quality for rapid contact tracing,” Belmonte said.
Quezon City has over 700 individuals assigned to conduct contact tracing of COVID-19-infected residents.
As of August 5, Quezon City has 7,355 total confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of this number, 4,695 have recoveries while 309 are deaths.
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