Despite the importance of contact tracing to monitor the spread of COVID-19, it seems that some people do not take their information seriously. Others, wrote the names “Hitler” and “Spongebob” on contact tracing forms.
In a report by Lilian Tiburico in “Stand for Truth,” some contact tracers in Metro Manila, the center of COVID-19 cases at present, admitted that they also cannot call everyone on the contact tracing forms.
Their duty sometimes lasts more than 12 hours due to the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19.
“Honestly, pen and paper na contact tracing hindi po ako sang-ayon diyan. Kasi unang una hindi naman lahat ng tao may dala na ballpen, so nagshe-share sila. Isa rin ‘yan sa cause kung bakit kumakalat ang COVID,” said field contact tracer Holly Gabrielle Dela Paz.
“Kunwari, merong pumuntang positive patient sa establishment, sa mall, matre-trace back ba namin lahat ng nagpunta doon? Hindi naman po,” said Dela Paz.
Some Pinoys write false info on contact tracing forms
“Tsaka minsan hindi naman totoong info ‘yung nilalagay ng mga tao. May nababasa ka roon ang pangalan Adolf Hitler, may pangalan Spongebob, maco-contact trace ba namin ‘yun? Minsan wala pang binibigay na cellphone number, hindi pa ho readable ‘yung sulat. So, it’s useless,” she added.
In the case of COVID-19 survivor Dr. Herbert Docena, Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines, the contact tracers did not call his close contacts.
“Nagulat ako roon sa sinabi ng contact tracer, kasi sabi niya, effectively, parang ‘Wag na sir kasi hindi rin naman namin matatwagan lahat ‘yan,’” said Docena.
“Kahit ‘yung mga close contact ko na mismo na sinabi ko ‘yung mga pangalan at contact details doon sa contact tracer, walang tumawag sa kanila,” Docena added.
At present, the tracers only contact household members or relatives of COVID-19 patients, unlike what they used to do when it comes to second and third generation contacts.
Contact tracing czar Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong admitted that the level of contact tracing in the country has dropped to only 1: 3 ratio from 1: 7 in January. This is far from the ideal 30 to 35 close contacts.