GenSan contact tracers
A contact tracing team — composed of local police officers and members of the barangay health emergency response — on their way to a neighborhood in Barangay Bula, General Santos City where two residents tested positive for the coronavirus last week. The barangay was placed on lockdown. The city has one of the lowest coronavirus cases among major urban areas in the country, with a total of 53 as of Aug. 20, including 46 recoveries and no deaths among confirmed patients.
Tacloban reimposes ban on gatherings, liquor after new cases traced to parties
THE TACLOBAN City government reimposed the ban on social gatherings as well as the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks starting Saturday after new coronavirus cases were traced to parties. “Taclobanons are advised to avoid social gatherings (parties) as this has been found out to be one of the causes of the spread of this deadly virus,” the local task force on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) said in a statement following a meeting Saturday morning. Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez issued a new executive order containing the prohibitions that will be in effect from Aug. 22 until lifted. “All forms of assemblies, social gatherings… public and private events, and parties are temporarily prohibited… The selling, buying, possession, or consumption of liquor within the City of Tacloban shall be prohibited for the duration of this order,” the order states.
BACK TO GCQ
The local government is also awaiting approval from the regional COVID-19 task force to revert the city, which has been under the most loose quarantine category, to the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) level from Aug. 24 to Sept. 8. Tacloban is the regional center of Eastern Visayas. Under the national task force guidelines, mass gatherings are prohibited in an area under GCQ. “Mass gatherings such as but not limited to, movie screenings, concerts… and other entertainment activities, community assemblies and non-essential work gatherings shall be prohibited.” Religious gatherings are limited to not more than 10 persons. As of Aug. 22, Eastern Visayas had 2,184 coronavirus cases, with 839 active and 1,333 recoveries. The region saw daily record high increases last week at over 100 on more than one day. Latest data released Saturday evening showed 132 new cases for the day, with Catbalogan City having the highest at 80 which are all local transmissions. Tacloban had the second highest total for the day at 12, majority of which are close contacts of confirmed patients or health workers.
How many contacts to trace per positive patient? GenSan’s cases show it’s more than 37
THE GENERAL formula set by the national task on COVID-19 for contact tracing is 37 people per positive patient as recommended by Baguio Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong, the appointed contact tracing czar for the crisis response.
But case histories for contact tracing activities published by the General Santos City government show the affected circle of people is usually higher — oftentimes double — that average. A healthcare frontliner, for example, who tested positive last week, had 86 direct contacts and 68 2nd level contacts. Contact tracing teams were still working on the 3rd and 4th level contacts as of Saturday.
Here’s a record for a 43-year-old male patient who had 74 direct and second-level contacts: