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Gauteng sees decrease in hospital trauma cases due to lockdown

Government banned the sale of booze to ensure there was adequate space in the trauma units at hospitals amid the battle against COVID-19.

FILE: Emergency physicians tend to a man with multiple stab wounds. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Department of Health on Wednesday reiterated that hospital admissions for emergency cases decreased rapidly in April, May, and June compared to the same period last year.

Government banned the sale of booze to ensure that there was adequate space in the trauma units at hospitals amid the battle against COVID-19.

As the country moved through its peak, the decrease in new COVID-19 infections meant that hospitals were now able to cope with increasing alcohol-related trauma cases.

The provincial Health Department said the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto had at least 2,797 emergency cases in April and May. While the hospital recorded 5,163 cases for the same period last year.

Acting Gauteng Health MEC Jacob Mamabolo said the decreasing figures were largely attributed to the national lockdown regulations, which saw government imposing a ban on the sale of alcohol.

“There is great relief to our health facilities. Hospital admissions are on a downward scale, which means that more beds are freed for other patients that might need beds,” Mamabolo said.

However, Mamabolo warned that pressure was mounting on hospitals following the lift on alcohol sales last week.

“We need a consistent decline [in hospital admissions], not a decline that gets overtaken by an increase on the same infrastructure,” he said.

Gauteng remains the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, with over 206,000 infections. To date, 3,334 people have died from the virus in the province.

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