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.
During a digital briefing on Thursday, Western Cape Department of Health head Dr Keith Cloete said 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.
As trauma cases climb, Covid-19 cases are steadily dropping, Cloete said.
Levels of oxygen use and hospitalisation in the Western Cape have dropped to the numbers recorded during the first wave of Covid-19 infections.
He added that for the fourth consecutive week, cases have declined in the province. He also said there has been a week-on-week decline of 36% across the province.
However, he said the figures are still on par with the numbers recorded in the first wave and the healthcare system continues to be under pressure.
Cloete added that oxygen use had dropped to 58 tons, compared to the 80 tons used during the peak of the second wave.
During the briefing, Cloete said 1,983 patients were hospitalised in the province. As of Wednesday, the Western Cape had 9,659 active cases of Covid-19.