2 DILG emergency call center agents positive for COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Two call center agents of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) were found positive for the coronavirus disease, forcing the agency to reroute the country’s emergency hotline 911 calls to its local call centers.
In a statement on Sunday, DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya said all the agency’s emergency telecommunicators (ETC) which includes 10 agents of the Department of Health’s COVID Hotline, are under home quarantine.
“In order to ensure the health of our personnel, we have adopted this temporary arrangement to continue serving the public with the help of call centers managed by Local Government Units. All of our personnel have undergone PCR tests, are currently under home quarantine, and will return to work as soon as they test negative or have completed the 14-day quarantine,” Malaya said.
Currently, the 911 National Call Center (NCC) is being disinfected, and contact tracing for the infected personnel is ongoing. Malaya said they are eyeing to partially open the 911 National Call Center by Sept. 7 and fully operate by Sept. 16.
The two infected personnel were already recovering from the disease while undertaking isolation.
“Our intention is to redeploy all our agents, together with the DOH agents assigned to us, as soon as it’s safe for our personnel,” he said.
Seventeen more ETCs from the Bureau of Fire Protection were supposed to augment the national call center but the deployment was suspended after two of them tested positive for the virus, Malaya also noted.
Malaya also asked the public’s understanding as delays for handling rerouted calls may occur because the DILG only has eight local call centers nationwide.
In 2019, 911 calls reached 18.482 million. Malaya said it further increased when the hotline started addressing COVID-19-related complaints which began last March 17.
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