The Department of Health said local governments will soon be asked to declare how fast they can trace contacts of COVID-19 patients under new forms that it was preparing.
The new contact tracing form will require LGUs to declare time elapsed since the contact-tracing started and how fast it went, Health Usec. Rosario Vergeire said. Currently, the 37 contacts per patient benchmark has not been met, she said.
Even if officials can't trace up to 37 contacts per patient, Vergeire said there should be no let-up in testing and isolation. The government has a four-point strategy against COVID-19: test, trace, treat and isolate.
"We are drafting a new contact tracing form which will include a portion on time elapsed since nakapag-contact tracing at gaano ba kabilis iyong contact tracing (the contact tracing was conducted and how fast it was done)," she said.
According to tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, each COVID-19 patient has at least 37 contacts who need to be traced and tested. It's the best practice that led the mountain resort city to quarantines that are loose enough to allow limited tourism.
Also on Thursday, authorities launched StaySafe, a mobile application that scans QR codes and leads users to a webpage to key in their information. Starting Tuesday, the QR codes will be rolled out to train stations, buses, and commercial establishments. Apart from digitizing health declaration and information forms, the app's tracking system can also help contact tracing efforts.
Instead of contact tracers making rounds in subdivisions and barangays, the app digitizes data for easier retrieval.
As of Sept. 3, 4 p.m., the Philippines has recorded 228,403 total cases of COVID-19. Of that number, 1,987 are new cases, the lowest recorded number in a day since July 29.