BAGUIO CITY, Jan. 23(PIA)-The Department of Health is sending about 40 contact tracers to Bontoc, Mountain Province to help in the conduct of enhanced contact tracing following the detection of COVID - 19 UK variant in 12 cases in the capital town.
DOH - Cordillera Regional Director Dr. Ruby Constantino, in a press conference today, said contact tracing teams from CAR, Regions 1, 2 and 3 will leave for Bontoc on Sunday, (Jan. 24) to augment the contact tracers in the municipality in efficiently tracking down those who may have been in close contact with the 12 COVID cases with UK variant.
Each of the teams from the four regional offices has 10 personnel who will be doing contact tracing for two to three days.
The activity will be conducted in coordination with Contact Tracing czar Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who stressed on the importance of the contact tracing efficiency ratio of 1:37, or 37 contacts of up to three generation or layers of possible transmission per infected person to prevent further spread.
Constantino said contact tracing will be done until the third generation of contacts, and DOH CAR has coordinated with the Bontoc LGU to already conduct the first generation tracing.
To facilitate tracing, she recommended for the LGU to give the 12 cases their own notebooks which will serve as their diaries where they can log the people they have in close contact with or the places they went to in the past days.
The DOH and the UP- Philippine National Genome Center announced on Jan. 22 the detection of the B.1.1.7 or UK variant in 16 additional COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, of which 13 are from Cordillera -12 in Bontoc and one in La Trinidad, Benguet.
Constantino reported that of the 12 cases in Bontoc, nine have already recovered while three are in isolation at the Luis Hora Memorial Regional Hospital in Abatan, Bauko. Further investigation and validation are being done to determine how the new variant reached Bontoc.
According to health experts, the UK variant spreads more easily and quickly and but no evidence yet if it causes more severe illness.
Whether it is the new UK variant or not, COVID - 19 is real, Constantino said emphasizing the need for everyone to be vigilant, to strictly observe minimum public health standards, and seek early consultation if any symptom manifests.(PIA-CAR)