WC’s trauma unit cases increase since ban on liquor lifted

The province's health department said on average. there was about 70% to 75% reduction when the ban was still in place.

FILE: A doctor sutures a man's nose and face after he was admitted to the Khayelitsha District Hospital's trauma unit. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Since the ban on the sale of alcohol was lifted just a week ago, the Western Cape's health system has seen a worrying increase in trauma unit cases.

The province's health department said on average, there was about 70% to 75% reduction in cases when the ban was still in place.

But since it's been largely scrapped, numbers have shot up showing an increase of around 50% to 100%.

The department's Saadiq Kariem said over the weekend before the ban was lifted, Groote Schuur Hospital admitted between five and 10 patients to its trauma unit.

Since the curb's been relaxed, admissions have averaged about 50 a day.

Kariem said it was a drain on resources needed to treat COVID-19 cases: “Particularly at this point in our pandemic, we are all hands on deck. We cannot have people do what they’re doing to each other.”

Looking at stats from last April, Kariem said Tygerberg Hospital treated about 1,400 patients at its trauma unit over that month.

This April as the hard lockdown came into effect, admissions dropped by 70% at the hospital.