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Hospitals will be able to cope should alcohol ban be lifted -W Cape Health

10 August 2020 8:29 AM
Tags:
Western Cape
Alcohol ban
COVID-19
ICU capacity
alcohol ban lifted

Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief DG, says hospitals in the Western Cape can cope with Covid-19 as well as non-Covid trauma cases.

On Friday Premier Alan Winde stated he supported the lifting of the alcohol ban and the further opening of the Cape economy to business.

Experts argued a few weeks ago that lifting the ban would see limited health resources stretched to breaking point by both Covid-19 hospitalisations and a spike in alcohol-related trauma cases.

Dr Saadiq Kariem, the Chief of Operations of the Western Cape Department of Health talks to Refilwe Moloto about the impact of this decision on our healthcare system.

Kariem says the department is quite confident that the province is coming off its peak.

Our numbers are going down, if I just look at yesterday's current admissions from Covid.

Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief Director General, Specialist & Emergency Services - Western Cape Department of Health

At the moment Western Cape hospitals, both public and private, have 1,191 Covid-19 patients. 933 are in the general wards and the rest are in high care and intensive care, he says.

He suggests the province will be able to cope should the alcohol ban be lifted.

Our capacity at the moment is sitting at 69%, so we can cope with both the Covid workload, the pandemic and we can cope with the upswing in trauma again.

Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief Director General, Specialist & Emergency Services - Western Cape Department of Health

This capacity includes the four field hospitals in the bed count.

In response to promises made by, for example, Discover Health, that patients would be moved to other provinces should the need arise, he says while the Western Cape does have the capacity to take patients from other provinces, moving very-ill Covid-19 patients who are on oxygen is difficult.

With regard to taking in non-Covid patients from other provinces, he says they are looking to increasing the comprehensive health services and prioritise those services for people in the province.

Remember, we had decongested out facilities over a couple of months, we dropped our elective surgeries by 52% in the metropole alone, so we are needing to re-escalate these services because these patients also cannot wait for too long. They need to come back to our hospitals and facilities.

Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chief Director General, Specialist & Emergency Services - Western Cape Department of Health

He says programmes to address alcohol use and abuse in the province will be part of the planned way orward.

Listen to the interview below:


10 August 2020 8:29 AM
Tags:
Western Cape
Alcohol ban
COVID-19
ICU capacity
alcohol ban lifted

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