At the rate things are going, total immunity from COVID-19 just seems far too good to be true. Commendable, however, are the non-stop efforts of various local government units (LGU) and some of those in the private sectors to help stop this pandemic once and for all.
One such initiative is a new way of contact tracing that would no longer require us to fill out a health declaration form via a QR code or a pen and paper. Known as ConTACTS, or Contact Tracing Automated Collection and Tracking System, the new procedure would be pilot tested in Baguio City and Benguet.
How the ConTACTS contact tracing would work
Heading the development of the ConTACTS contact tracing is a team from Saint Louis University (SLU). They’ll be backed by start-up Empitech Communication Equipment Manufacturing and the Department of Science and Technology – Cordillera Administrative Region (DOST-CAR).
Once ready, the contact tracing would just have an individual input his or her mobile number on a device. It will then be added to a central database system. This eliminates the inconvenience of understanding unintelligible and sometimes inaccurate writing on the part of authorities. While for the public, they no longer have to worry about bringing out a personal device to download QR codes, which also requires a stable Internet connection.
“This is different from other contact tracing systems because of how it simplifies the process of client or visitor registration,” said DOST-CAR Director Nancy Bantog. “The centralized database (will make) contact tracing more efficient since the establishments’ visitors’ contact numbers and logs are in the system.”
Pilot establishments throughout Baguio City and Benguet will have the same ConTACTS contact tracing device that would store one’s data, which includes the date and time of visit, in a central server. According to Bantog, this server would be managed per LGU. For the project’s development and deployment, it would take Empitech, SLU, and other stakeholders from January until June 2021.