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Magalong: Contact tracers ‘overwhelmed’ by Omicron surge

/ 12:43 PM January 28, 2022
Magalong: Contact tracers 'overwhelmed' by Omicron surge

Benjamin Magalong: The process of contact tracing is very challenging.

MANILA, Philippines — Contact tracers in the country are “overwhelmed” in dealing with COVID-19 cases amid the Omicron surge, tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said Friday.

“On contact tracing, nahihirapan talaga, admittedly nahihirapan, especially na hindi natin na-extend yung services ng 16,000 DILG-hired contact tracers kaya umaasa tayo ngayon sa uniformed services,” he said at the Laging Handa public briefing.

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(Contact tracing is difficult because the Department of Interior and Local Government did not extend the services of 16,000 tracers it hired. That’s why we are depending on uniformed services for tracing.)

According to Magalong, some local government units (LGUs) only focus on close contacts among household members of COVID-19 patients. However, he said Baguio and other cities still conduct tracing in workplaces.

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He advised LGUs to focus on first-generation close contacts instead of also tracing the second-generation contacts.

Magalong noted that during the surge of cases due to the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants, contact tracers only handle 12 to 15 cases.

“Pero nitong tinamaan tayo ng Omicron, ang isang contact tracer hinahawakan nya mga 30, 40 cases and it’s very, very impossible to be able to process all these patients,” he said.

(When Omicron arrived, each contact tracer was handling 30 to 40 cases, and it’s very, very impossible to be able to process all these patients.)

“Talagang naooverwhelm na ang ating contact tracers (Our contact tracers are really overwhelmed),” said Magalong.

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