Cape hospitals not overrun with trauma cases over Easter due to partial booze ban
Cape Town - The Western Cape was not as overrun by trauma-related cases at hospitals as was anticipated over the Easter weekend, and this was attributed to the partial booze ban implemented last week.
Last Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would remain on alert level 1 of the lockdown, but he also added that a ban has been placed on the sale of alcohol for four days starting on Good Friday.
Chief of Operations for Western Cape Government Health Dr Saadiq Kariem said that the partial booze ban gave them a little breathing room in handling trauma-related cases.
“Since midnight on April 1 until midday on April 5 over the Easter weekend, we saw a total of 1 358 trauma-related cases at 13 of the busiest trauma units across the province.
“The overall sense is that while trauma units remain busy, we were not perhaps completely overrun as initially anticipated, and we attribute this reduction in the trauma burden to the partial banning on the sale of alcohol over the long weekend.
“Our medical emergencies, however, remain somewhat busy during this period,” he said.
In last week’s digicon, Provincial head of health Dr Keith Cloete highlighted that the province can now see when trauma-related cases are at their peaks across the Western Cape, and that this is typically at the first and last weekends of the month.
"We have peaks that are lower during the month, but also still on weekends, and we have troughs during the week. We can now pinpoint per geographical area where these peaks and troughs are, and we can see the correlation between alcohol-availability, irresponsible use and the trauma presenting to our hospitals.“
The Western Cape government has been championing the opening of the economy, while also reminding people to not be irresponsible with their alcohol consumption.
When the Cape Argus asked how challenging it is to maintain this balance, Dr Cloete said that interventions are required.
“It is important to find the right balance between opening the economy and people behaving in a responsible manner to save lives and not overwhelming the health services.
“The key habits are linked to irresponsible consumption of alcohol and irresponsible behaviour linked to gatherings.
“The interventions required are a combination of targeted restrictions on alcohol availability and regulations on pricing and alcohol contents, together with behaviour change programmes linked to targeted changes in individual and societal habits,” he said.