Baguio COVID19 Active Cases Climbs To 8 “City’s Contact Tracing Gets WHO’s Attention”

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BAGUIO CITY (July 15, 2020) – Another case was added to Baguio City’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) toll Wednesday.

A 29-year old female nurse from Saudi Arabia.  She reportedly arrived in Manila on June 30 and returned here on July 4 after testing negative in her swab test in Manila.   

She was swab tested on July 14 at the BGHMC after developing symptoms while on home quarantine.

Thus bringing the active COVID19 cases in the city to 8.

Meanwhile, Baguio City’s contact tracing methodology for the disease continued to make waves catching the interest of the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Mayor Benjamin Magalong presented the scheme before WHO Regional Office for Western Pacific Regional Director Dr. Takeshi Kasai and Country Representative Dr. Rabi Abeyasinghe and Dept. of Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo during the July 10 Joint WHO-DOH (Dept. of Health) Visit to the Cordillera Administrative Region on COVID-19 Response at the Baguio Country Club.

The visit was part of the WHO’s documentation of COVID-19 best measures being implemented in the countryside to determine best practices that can be learned and shared with the end in view of improving the strategy in handling the pandemic.

During the forum, the team also looked into the COVID-19 strategies of Benguet as presented by Gov. Melchor Diclas as well as the medical program of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center by Medical Officer Dr. Ricardo Ruñez Jr.

Kasai said the city’s contact tracing system has gained impressive feedback in the country and WHO wanted to learn of its mechanics first-hand in recognition of contact tracing as a key to changing the course of the outbreak.

The team toured the city’s Contact Tracing Command Center where they were walked through the process which involves approaches on detection, isolation, testing and tracing. 

A homegrown process put together by Magalong integrates police cognitive interviewing technique, computerized data collection and link analysis tools and patient identity disclosure to maximize gathering of contact information and facilitate quarantine, testing, disinfection and medical protocols.

The WHO representatives expressed appreciation of the city’s system and noted similarities in some of the approaches to those being implemented in Singapore and South Korea, according to City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo and City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit head Dr. Donnabel Tubera.

Artemio A. Dumlao