Pasig starts notifying potential COVID-19 close contacts via text message

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Pasig City said it started notifying potential close contacts of COVID-19 cases via text messages starting April 14 as part of the pilot test of the national government's automated contact tracing. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 15) — Pasig City said it started notifying potential close contacts of COVID-19 cases via text messages starting April 14 as part of the pilot test of the national government's automated contact tracing.

"Through the PasigPass, Pasig City's QR-based contact tracing solution, those who were tagged as potential close contacts will receive a text message from PasigPass, notifying them that they are potential close contacts," said the Pasig Public Information Office in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Potential contacts refer to people who have been in the same area with an infected person for more than 15 minutes, as recorded by the PasigPass codes. However, since they are just "potential," it is possible they will not be tagged eventually as close contacts, it said.

"[A] further assessment will be conducted to determine if one is a close contact," said the Pasig PIO.

Users who get the message from PasigPass will be contacted by the city's epidemiology and surveillance unit through a phone call to the number that was registered in the system. A "profiler" will then assess the person's condition and advise the next steps to take.

The Inter-Agency Task Force approved on April 10 a resolution to conduct automated contact tracing through text messaging to strengthen the StaySafe.PH national contact tracing app.

Under the resolution, Pasig City was assigned to hold the initial beta-testing of the mechanism on May 1, to be followed by beta-testing in the consortium of Antipolo, Pasig, Mandaluyong and Valenzuela.

These areas earlier unified their contact tracing apps to allow each of their QR codes to be applicable in all four cities.