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62% increase in daily trauma cases 1 month after curfew and alcohol ban lifted

14 July 2020 8:41 AM

W Cape Dept of Health's Dr Saadiq Kariem says freedom of movement plus alcohol leads to a massive increase in trauma cases.

Dr Saadiq Kariem, the Western Cape Dept of Health's Head of Operations speaks to Refilwe Moloto about the impact weeks of alcohol sales have had on our healthcare system, and what we can expect in coming weeks, as we face the peak of Covid-19 infections.

I've always maintained it's a dangerous combination of the freedom of movement of people plus alcohol that leads to a massive increase in our trauma cases.

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

Kariem says the dates of the alcohol ban paint a clear picture. He says the department has been following the studies done and it has shown a large jump in trauma case numbers before and after alcohol was banned.

One month after the curfew and alcohol ban was lifted there was a 62% increase in our daily trauma cases.

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

He says a significant number of these alcohol-related trauma cases require hospital admission, theatre for operations, and intensive care which is a large added pressure to the health care system.

He says the department has used the time during lockdown when the curve was slowed down to prepare judiciously for the Covid-19 response all the way from primary to intermediate facilities.

The CTICC has had over 1000 patients and admits about 250 per day which has taken a great deal of pressure off the hospitals, he says.

Oxygen is also now being supplied in hospitals not just in high care and critical wards, but also in general wards, which helps ease the load as well of caring for Covid-19 patients.

We've had patients discharged from hospital having just had oxygen therapy.

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

The curfew helps minimise people moving around and reduces motor vehicle accidents he suggests, even those not alcohol-related.

We think instituting the curfew is absolutely essential.

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

Listen to the interview below:


14 July 2020 8:41 AM

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