DILG failed in contact-tracing efforts

By Leonardo Micua


“DON’T blame the DOH for (the) COVID spike. It’s the DILG.  They fumbled their contact tracing efforts.” This was recently posted by Wilson Chua, CEO of the Dagupan-based Bitstop, Inc. in his social media account. He has been analyzing data about the COVID-19 situation in the country, especially in his native Pangasinan. And, he’s right.

In the first place, was it not the DILG that hired the contact tracers, trained them before they were fanned out to cities and towns to do contact tracing of potential carriers of the virus before the contagion can start in their respective communities.

The contact tracers were doing good at the beginning until the DILG pulled the plugs for a reason many still could not understand. Now, all the contact tracers are missing. We heard they did not go back to work after the budget for their measly remuneration was reportedly defunded.

Amid the spike of cases in the National Capital+, Baguio City Mayor and contact tracing czar Benjie Magalong himself admitted that contact tracing in Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces and in various parts of the country practically failed.

We heard that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will hire its own contact tracers in support of the efforts of the DOH and other government  agencies, all scurrying to contain the spread of the virus.

We hope DOLE will not commit the same mistake as DILG did – treated contact tracing only half as important and not crucial to efforts to check the contagion.  For starters, DOLE must work with DOH and put sufficient funds for the efforts, for it to succeed.

Without contact tracing as a vital tool in the fight against COVID, expect the cases to spike some more, not only in the NCR+ but also in Dagupan City and Pangasinan.

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We cannot imagine how the COVID-19 patients from Metro Manila were able to slip from the tight security at the borders of Pangasinan who were specifically instructed to deny travelers from the NCR+ bubble entry into Pangasinan.

We can only conclude that these patients, who were turned away by hospitals in the NCR that are already swarming with COVID-19 positives, had outwitted border control point guards or the same were snoring when the vehicles ferrying these patients.

It is remote possibility that the NCR+ patients came here by chopper or smuggled here by unscrupulous drivers of for hire vans or in container vans because of their conditions.

We cannot blame the hospitals, too, from accommodating these runaway patients fill up their empty slots.

Now that that they are here and confined in various private hospitals, including the Region 1 Medical Center, the least that the authorities can do is to take appropriate measures so they don’t infect any one from Dagupan City and Pangasinan.

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The issue about AztraZeneca having caused adverse effect on recipients who are below 60 years old should alarm us all. We know that the preference of people, including senior citizens, is AstraZeneca over the Chinese made COVID-19 vaccine Sinovac.

We know of many health front liners, 59 years old and below who took the Astra Zeneca jab. They could be having nightmares nowadays, thinking that they could develop blood clots too, like those who opted for AztraZeneca in other countries.

There was a report that 16 vaccinees have issues that were akin to blood clotting but this is still subject of an exhaustive investigation.

But for me, when my turn for the vaccine comes, I may opt for Sinovac since it was already approved by FDA for vaccination to seniors like me.

Have you heard of any health issue from persons who took the Sinovac vacccine? None. This is not commercial.

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