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Lockdown credited for drop in New Year’s trauma cases in Cape Town

Long Street, a popular street for entertainment in the Cape Town CBD is quiet. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Long Street, a popular street for entertainment in the Cape Town CBD is quiet. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 4, 2021

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Cape Town - Western Cape health and law enforcement authorities have thanked citizens of Cape Town and the province for their display of responsible behaviour over New Year’s Eve in which there was a historic reduction of incidents in hospital trauma rooms as a level 3 curfew ensured entertainment districts, such as Cape Town’s Long Street, were virtually deserted.

Although emergency centres continued to deal with Covid-19 cases, the New Year’s Eve trauma emergencies were significantly reduced in public hospitals in the Cape Metro and rural districts.

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Head of the Department of Health in the Western Cape, Dr Keith Cloete said: “The experience on New Year’s Eve at the various hospitals across the province was unprecedented for such a historically busy time, when ordinarily the hospitals and emergency centres would have been busy with alcohol-related traumas.

“The busiest hospital was Tygerberg, with 12 trauma cases reported. Again such a small number is completely unheard of. Groote Schuur hospital had six cases, Khayelitsha and Somerset had four each, and Karl Bremer in Parow had none at all.

“Obviously the restrictions and the curfew played a big role, as did the responsible behaviour of citizens. What we are hoping for is that this responsible behaviour, which also includes the wearing of masks, the avoiding of crowds and regular hand washing and sanitising, continues and will pay off in the prevention of further or new infections over the next week. If this happens it will bring about a stabilisation in the situation with Covid-19.”

Health department spokesperson Marika Champion said: “The Western Cape Government Health is thankful to the public for heeding our call. It underlines the importance of behaviour change in dealing with the impact of the pandemic on our health service.

“Trauma cases are usually very time consuming and labour intensive. This reduction helped us to cope with the significant load of Covid-19 cases in our hospitals.”

SAPS spokesperson Novela Potelwa said: “Western Cape police have recorded fewer crime incidents and significant successes since Thursday evening, with lockdown regulations in effect.”

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Potelwa said: “The first weekend in 2021 was relatively safe amidst strong enforcement and operational successes in the Western Cape. SAPS management in the province have thanked the majority of people for heeding the call to observe the Level 3 regulations and respecting the rule of law.”

He listed the number of recorded incidents and said: “A total of 2 915 fines were issued for the contravention of the Disaster Management Act regulations. Police officials were also deployed on beaches along the Garden Route, Overberg, West Coast and Cape Town to ensure adherence to level 3 restrictions. While most beaches were deserted, there were a few transgressors who were dealt with.”

Meanwhile, despite the annual Cape Minstrel Street parade being postponed until later this year due to the pandemic, on Saturday morning a small group of performers from the Cape Town Seven Steps Minstrels staged a symbolic Tweede Nuwejaar performance to honour health-care workers and front line staff.

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The performance was held in the front courtyard of the Castle of Good Hope. Spokesperson Kader Miller said: “We thought we could do this in a smaller group while properly observing Covid-19 regulations.

“It is our way of giving back to all the front line workers. This is our way of bringing a smile to their faces on the second day of New Year."

Cape Argus

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