DOH says efficiency of its contact-tracing technology at 80%

The Department of Health (DOH) told an online meeting of the House Committee on Health on Thursday, May 21, that contract-tracing done by the agency has an effectiveness of 80 percent.

The DOH is using Covid Kaya, a contact-tracing reporting system it co-developed with the World Health Organization (Photo from WHO)

DOH chief epidemiologist Dr. John Wong claimed this rate is quite high because Singapore has contact-tracing efficiency of only about 50 percent.

Quezon fourth district representative and committee chair Angelina “Helen” Tan asked DOH secretary Francisco Duque III, who was also present during the online meeting, if there is an initiative to improve data collection to achieve a correct assessment of the situation.

Duque said the agency’s epidemiology bureau information system has already migrated its data to Covid Kaya, a contact-tracing reporting system co-developed with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Meanwhile, Nueva Ecija second district representative Micaela Violago also sought clarification on why the transmission classification in the Philippines is community-based while those in the Western Pacific countries are classified as cluster cases or sporadic cases.

Wong explained there are several stages of transmission, the first of which is imported transmission when all of the cases come from outside the country. The next stage is local transmission when there are local cases infected by the imported cases and these local cases start to infect local people. Sustained community transmission happens when there are more local cases but the source of infection can no longer be located.

Wong said that because the virus is new and very few people have immunity to it, the country is going to have a series of waves until a vaccine or treatment is found. He said that as long as people practice the recommended measure and maintain it, then “we can postpone or delay another wave.”

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