Western Cape records highest number of trauma cases, as alcohol restrictions ease

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  • The Western Cape recorded 621 trauma cases on Sunday, the highest number for the year.
  • The spike in incidents coincided with the relaxation of alcohol restrictions.
  • Trauma data will now be used to inform interventions to reduce violence in the province.

The Western Cape recorded the highest number of daily trauma cases this year.

On Sunday, there were 621 trauma cases recorded by the provincial health department's Hospital and Emergency Centre Tracking Information System (Hectis), said the Western Cape's health department head, Keith Cloete.

"The recent shift to Level 1, with the lifting of all alcohol restrictions, has resulted in the highest single day of trauma cases of the entire year," Cloete said.

The relaxed restrictions coincided with the end of the month - a weekend that traditionally sees a high number of trauma cases.

The trauma cases have seen hospital beds filling up, even as Covid-19 cases decrease.

READ | Western Cape healthcare system strained as trauma cases soar over month-end weekend

The province has seen, on average, 315 new Covid-19 diagnoses each day, with hospital admissions dropping to 64 on average daily.

The Hectis monitors 17 emergency centres across the Western Cape and has shown a pattern of trauma cases increasing over the last weekend of the month, as well as when alcohol is available.

Throughout the third wave, the system has shown increased trauma causes, which coincide with relaxed alcohol restrictions.

The data generated by the Hectis will now be used to roll out interventions to reduce violence in the province, said Cloete.

He said:

We are monitoring the impact of alcohol and trauma in all emergency centres. In the province, the premier and provincial cabinet have adopted a very progressive recovery strategy, one area of which looks at safety.

This strategy includes a comprehensive set of interventions to mitigate interpersonal violence – one of which deals with alcohol availability, said Cloete.

"But most of the others are really about understanding where violence happens, for what reason, and working with young people to be able to navigate conflict resolution," he said.

The interventions will target the 16 areas with the highest prevalence of murder and trauma cases, informed by the data generated by the health department.

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