The Quezon City government urged the Department of Health (DOH) to review its case reporting system, saying lack of information hampers their contact tracing efforts on many coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients.

Mayor Joy Belmonte reiterated this call after a COVID-19 positive patient voiced out on social media about the lack of contact tracing efforts from the city on her and her family. The post went viral and the city government was blamed by the patient for lack of action. However records showed the patient never self reported to the LGU, and relied solely on the DOH, which in turn did not have data on the patient’s contact details on the COVID KAYA system for the LGU to extract.

“We again reiterate our call for the DOH to review their COVID KAYA system because this is where we get our information for our contact tracing efforts. Incomplete data is like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Belmonte.

COVID KAYA is a case and contact tracing reporting system provided by DOH for epidemiology and surveillance officers, health care providers and laboratory-based users.

Belmonte said the laboratory where the said COVID-19 positive patient underwent testing did not provide the results, address and other pertinent details to the COVID KAYA system, neither did it report to the local government unit.

“We urge DOH to act on this immediately and call the attention of all laboratories and hospitals to submit complete information so that we from the LGU can do our task properly,” Belmonte said.

“How can our health workers do their jobs if we are not receiving enough information regarding the patients,” she added.

Furthermore, Belmonte said the COVID KAYA system tagged some 8,000 people as Quezon City residents but provided no other information that could help contact tracers confirm their existence or whereabouts, thereby further increasing the discrepancy between validated LGU data which was at 9,817 as of August 21 and DOH data, which placed QC positive patients at 17, 907 on the same date.

“There is an urgent need for the DOH to review its database so all local government units which depend on it for contact tracing efforts can do their jobs efficiently,” Belmonte said.

Belmonte recently issued a memorandum ordering laboratories, hospitals and disease reporting units to immediately inform the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) about COVID-19 positive patients for quick action and to avoid delays in contact tracing.

In a separate order, Belmonte also encouraged residents and employees working in the city to self-report all probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases to the CESU or the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) to ensure immediate action to limit the spread of the virus in the communities.

Self reporting can be done by sending an email to [email protected]. The contact tracing team can be reached through its hotline numbers 8703-2759, 8703-4398, 0916-122-8628, 0908-639-8086, 0931-095-7737 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and email addresses [email protected] and [email protected].