The City Government of Davao has employed 65 individuals to boost the city’s COVID-19 contact tracing team in high-risk areas.

This was bared by Davao COVID-19 Task Force Spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser in an interview with the City Information Office (CIO) on Tuesday, October 12.

Dr. Schlosser said, “Out of the 100 contact tracers screened, interviewed, and evaluated, only 65 passed and recommended for hire. They are now deployed to districts with the most number of COVID-19 cases such as Buhangin, Talomo North, Talomo South, Talomo Central, and Tugbok.”

But the Talomo South District Health Office (DHO) said it currently has enough manpower and that it can cope with the bulk of patients. “Nonetheless, if meron silang (if they have) needs, we can also move the contact tracers around,” she said.

She also said the newly hired contact tracers underwent training and orientation before they were deployed to their assigned areas of responsibility.

“Done na po ang training and orientation nila (They have completed their training and orientation) but we will always have continuous education and information drive every Friday,” the city health official said.

The city currently has over 1,000 contact tracers who have been instrumental in the city’s effective COVID-19 response.

Dr. Schlosser earlier praised the contact tracers who have been tirelessly serving beyond regular working hours since the pandemic struck in March 2020. Instead of the regular eight-hour workday, she said the city’s contact tracers work 24/7 even on Saturdays and Sundays. 

She added, “Walay undang na atoang contact tracing whether buntag or evening (Our contact tracing never stops whether mornings or evenings). Ten hours of contact tracing and another 10 hours for reporting, their sleeping time is so really less. We pay so much respect and much gratitude sa atoang mga contact tracers (to our contact tracers). Pero I also acknowledge dili gyud perpekto tanan namong mga contact tracers and still we aim (But I also acknowledge that they are not perfect and still we aim to deliver the best services).

Seminars, consultative meetings, and webinars are regularly being held for contact tracers and they also meet on Fridays to update the Davao COVID-19 Task Force on the difficulties that they face on the ground. The task force also conducts with them continuous education on Davao City’s executive orders and COVID-19 protocols and guidelines.

Dr. Schlosser also appealed to Dabawenyos to help the city government despite the flaws of some contact tracers so that they can receive proper assistance from the city.

“We do want to improve our services pero dili gyud sya perpekto kay we’ve been battling this for two years, walay Saturday, Sunday. They work 24/7, siguro naay certain boiling point kapuyon napud sila ba but again that’s not an excuse kay naa man mi sa serbisyo publiko so it’s not an excuse but again we plea for your understanding (We do want to improve our services but it’s not perfect since we’ve been battling this for two years, they don’t rest even on Saturdays and Sundays. They work 24/7 and maybe they reached a certain boiling point that they get tired and that’s not an excuse but we plead for your understanding),” she said.CIO