“Filyasyon” is a word Health Minister Fahrettin Koca uses in every press briefing to update the public on the coronavirus pandemic. “You won’t forget this word any time soon,” Koca said in his latest press conference on Tuesday and says they owe the decline in the speed of cases to this method.
This foreign-sounding method basically involves putting a halt to the chain of infections by tracking down coronavirus patients and whoever they were in contact with.
Medical crews scattered across the country work hard to detect the last known contacts or possible contacts of every coronavirus patient. In the capital Ankara, the Case Monitoring and Filyasyon Management Center opened its doors to journalists on Wednesday. The center set up by the Health Ministry sent three-staff crews for isolation and monitoring of contacts of patients. Some 4,600 crews are active across the country, and they have tracked down 251,028 people so far.
At the center in Ankara, 50 staff composed of doctors and other professionals scan the information on patients in a call center environment and dispatch teams in protective gear to find the contacts of patients who are viewed as prospective patients. Crews arrange a 14-day quarantine for those potential patients and treatment if they test positive.
Çiğdem Şimşek, deputy director of Ankara Public Health Directorate in charge of pandemic diseases, says that as soon as someone tests positive, all information regarding the patient is entered into the Public Health Management System database. “Our staff get in touch with the patient then and question him or her about his or her latest whereabouts while an ambulance takes the patient to the pandemic hospital,” she says. In Ankara, 241 crews work in the field. “They visit the patient’s immediate family or whoever the patient lives with. If the patient is a working person, they visit the workplace to see the patient’s last contacts and question if they have symptoms. All contacts are given phone numbers to contact if they have symptoms. Separately, physicians in every neighborhood clinic make daily phone calls to these people to find out if they have any symptoms. This continues for 14 days, and we ask the contacts of patients to spend this period in self-quarantine,” Şimşek said.