Western Cape healthcare workers have recorded an increase in trauma cases following the lifting of the alcohol ban. The increase in trauma cases comes as the province experiences a “continuous decline” in COVID-19 infections and deaths.
News24 reports that Western Cape Health Department head Dr Keith Cloete said during a digital briefing that COVID-19 cases were steadily declining in the province. However, Cloete revealed that trauma cases had “significantly increased” following the lifting of the alcohol ban.
He said immediately after the alcohol ban was lifted “the absolute number of trauma cases increased by 105%”.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde added that while trauma can be caused by various incidents, such as vehicle accidents or injury from guns and knives, tracking of the province’s trauma incidents has shown that alcohol and alcohol availability were linked to trauma.
“We will need to continue to protect our healthcare system and take that data and see what we do about it. We need to look at new innovative ways to effect behaviour change,” he said.
The Gauteng Health Department has noticed an increase in the number of trauma cases at hospitals since the alcohol ban was lifted in February. According to an Eyewitness News report, on 1 February, hospitals had around 180 trauma cases, which escalated steadily over the week to more than 500 at the weekend.
The department’s acting deputy director general for hospital services Freddy Kgongwana said that alcohol had a direct impact on these figures.
“Alcohol is intimately related to trauma in our environment, in our institutions. Those trauma cases obviously they come to us because it is our key role to provide health care to the communities that we serve,” he said.
The Citizen reports that Durban police and emergency services have reported an increase in road crashes, trauma cases, violent fights and domestic violence cases following the booze ban lift.
Emergency services and police in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal have had their hands full responding to road crashes and booze fuelled house parties the first weekend after government lifted the COVID-19 alcohol ban.
ALS Paramedics Medical Services managing director Garrith Jamieson said paramedics were busy responding to alcohol-related road crashes even during curfew. “It all went down the first day after the unbanning of (the) liquor trade. We’ve been attending to trauma injuries ever since. We increased emergency vehicles and were prepared for what was to come. Our paramedics have been busy even during weekdays and during curfew times,” Jamieson said.
Metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said that domestic violence cases had also increased since the lifting of the alcohol ban.
Full News24 report (Open access) Full Eyewitness News report (Open access) Full report in The Citizen (Open access)