The first batch of contact tracers from the Department of Health (DOH) arrived Sunday in Bontoc, Mountain Province to augment the local tracing teams looking for carriers of the United Kingdom (UK) coronavirus (B.1.1.7) variant.
Dr. Amelita Pangilinan, assistant regional director of DOH in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) who also accompanied the group, said that there are now 15 contact tracers from DOH Cordillera regional office and 10 from Ilocos Region.
Pangilinan said 20 other contact tracers from DOH Regions 2 and 3 will also be deployed.
DOH-CAR Regional director Dr. Ruby Constantino on Saturday said DOH Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd has ordered that a team composed of 10 contact tracers each from Regions 1, 2, 3 and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) will immediately proceed to Bontoc to help the 20 tracers from the local government to locate the first and second level contacts of the 12 Covid-19 positive who were found to have been carrying the UK variant.
The three layers of contacts include the close contacts of the 12, the contacts of their contacts, and other possible persons who came in contact with any of them.
She said the Bontoc-based team has already started the contact tracing prior to the arrival of the DOH team and all were provided a notebook where they would recall and write their activities and those they got in contact with in the last two weeks for easier tracing.
Constantino said the tracers from DOH were first swab tested using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to assure they are free of Covid-19.
“They are complying with the entry protocols of Bontoc and Mountain Province,” she added.
Duque said the 12 cases of the new Covid variant in Bontoc comprise seven males and five females with three of them below 18 years old and three above 60, all from Bontoc. The youngest among those affected is a five-year-old child.
Of the 12 cases, 11 are from Barangay Samoki and one is from Barangay Bontoc IlI.
Duque said that aside from 12 cases in Bontoc, one sample from La Trinidad, Benguet was also found positive of the UK coronavirus variant. SOVEREIGNPH