Saying that the pandemic is a worldwide phenomenon would be an understatement. Its effect is monumental – enough to change history books. It altered our perspective and lifestyle no one has ever imagined.
There is a fear of going out. There is anxiety in socialization. We take every safety precaution to avoid the deadly virus. We wear masks. We practice social distancing. We fill our bags with COVID-19 ammunition. We are ready for the war.
But there is another safety measure we are missing out on – keeping a contact tracing diary.
Government officials and health experts encourage Filipinos to keep a diary to record who they interact with. These individual journals are a part of the effort to help trace and limit the spread of the COVID-19.
“Habang inaayos natin ang proseso ng contact tracing, ito ang aming payo: Bawat isa sa atin mag-maintain tayo ng diary. Isulat natin araw-araw kung saan tayo nagpunta, at kung kaya, kung sino ang nakasalamuha nating tao,” said Dr. Aileen Espina during a virtual briefing of the Healthcare Professionals Alliance against COVID-19 (HPAAC).
(While we are working on the contact tracing process, here is our advice: Each one of us should maintain a diary. We write down daily where we went and, if possible, who we interacted with.)1
Espina also mentioned that if a person experiences any COVID-related symptoms, he or she should check the diary. She recommended us to call those we interacted with two days before the day we experience the symptoms.
Doctors have said that a person can be infectious 2 or 3 days before they experience COVID-19 symptoms.
On the other hand, Bataan Governor Albert Garcia advised those who stay home should also make a list of persons entering their residences, like delivery and service personnel.2
How to keep track of our movements
The Unite Against COVID-19 of the New Zealand Government recommended using whatever method works for us.
Use the 3Ws:
- Where we went.
- When we went there.
- Who we met.
Monitor movements by:
- Using an app
- Keeping a diary
- Keeping a list in a safe place, or
- Taking time-stamped photos of where we’ve been.
But new technology is still in development. That is why tracers depend on the traditional ways of contact tracing, typically conducting interviews to Corona-virus positive.
With the fallibility of human memory, many COVID-19 patients struggled to recollect details of their interactions in the past 15 days preceding the diagnosis. Some provided vague information that complicated the process. No patient can recall what they did in the past 2 weeks in one go especially if they are dreading long hospital isolation.
That is why a contact tracing diary is an essential tool to keep. Maintaining one is a simple step to help contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Now that we know the importance of keeping a diary, pick up our tool, and start documenting the people and places we came in contact with.