Trauma figures at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital tripled after easing of restrictions in June

An example of an ICU bed for Covid patients at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.
An example of an ICU bed for Covid patients at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.
Azarrah Karrim
  • Statistics show that trauma unit cases tripled in June 2020.
  • This comes after lockdown restrictions were eased during Level 3, which commenced on 1 June.
  • Gauteng has breached 100 000 cases.


Statistics show that trauma figures at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, Gauteng, tripled in June, compared to May, as lockdown restrictions were eased.

Last month, the hospital saw 633 trauma cases.

The cases relate to gunshots, stabbings, motor vehicle accidents (involving buses and taxis), burns, assaults, falls, cuts, motorbike accidents and other trauma.

The initial move to Level 3, which started on 1 June, was marked most notably by more sectors of the economy resuming operations, the return of the sale of alcohol and the scrapping of the night-time curfew.

June 2020 breakdown:

  • Gunshot: 61
  • Stabbings: 105
  • Motor vehicle and motor bike accidents: 58 (49 + 9)
  • Passenger vehicle accidents: 53
  • Burns:21
  • Assault (domestic): 71
  • Falls: 133
  • Cuts: 0
  • Other trauma (blunt objects): 131

Total: 633

The country went into a hard lockdown - Level 5 - on 27 March.

In April 2020, the first full month of the hard lockdown, the trauma unit saw 292 cases, 341 less than in June.

In May 2020, the trauma unit figures dropped again to 209 cases, 424 less than in June.

The changes in these month-on-month statistics strengthen the accounts of many healthcare workers, who reported that they were inundated with trauma cases – many of it deemed avoidable - in the month of June after restrictions were eased.

Healthcare workers and officials said alcohol was a factor in many of these cases.

A trauma surgeon at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, Professor Steve Moeng, previously shared that, during June, one ward dedicated to patients under investigation (PUIs) and Covid-19 patients at the hospital had grown to more than seven wards.

READ | Ward dedicated to Covid-19 patients has grown to more than 7 wards in 10-14 days – trauma surgeon

According to Moeng, the trauma cases coming in were preventable "as it is related to us, how we drive, and it is related to alcohol".

As of 13 July, Gauteng had 103 713 cases, with 36 146 recoveries and 644 deaths.

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