Long Street in Cape Town on New Year’s Eve. Only essential workers were allowed to be out after the 9pm curfew. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Long Street in Cape Town on New Year’s Eve. Only essential workers were allowed to be out after the 9pm curfew. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Trauma emergencies ’significantly reduced’ in Cape hospitals this New Year’s Eve

By IOL Time of article published Jan 1, 2021

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Cape Town - Hospitals in the Western Cape and Gauteng have reported a "significant reduction“ in trauma cases this New Year’s Eve.

This comes after festivities were severely restricted by a 9pm curfew and a ban on alcohol sales as part of the adjusted level 3 lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Although many of our emergency centres were dealing with Covid-19 cases, the trauma emergencies were significantly reduced in public hospitals, both in Cape Metro and Rural Districts,” Western Cape Government Health spokesperson Marika Champion said on Friday.

“Most of our facilities report today a much quieter than usual New Years’ Eve. We are still collating numbers, but reports indicate a significant drop in trauma cases (these include motor vehicle crashes and violent trauma cases which usually accompany public holidays).

“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,” Champion said.

“We are 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”

In Gauteng, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital said it had no patients in its trauma rescue area on New Year’s Eve.

“Its the first in history of the hospital trauma rescue area has no patient on the 1st of the new year,” the hospital posted on its Facebook page showing pictures of empty hospital beds.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday that the country would enter an adjusted level 3 lockdown to curb the second wave of Covid-19. Restrictions included a curfew of 9pm and a ban of alcohol sales.

Ramaphosa said in his address to the nation that the consumption of alcohol in restaurants, in nightclubs and taverns had contributed to risky behaviour like not wearing masks and not observing social distancing.

“Excessive alcohol consumption is also driving up the number of trauma cases in our hospitals.

“According to the data we have, with every relaxation of the restrictions on the sale of alcohol, the number of trauma cases reporting at our hospitals has increased.

“These trauma cases are putting an unnecessary strain on our already stretched public health facilities.” the president said.

South Africa on New Year’s Eve for the first time breached the 18 000 mark for new daily Covid-19 cases while 436 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported.

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