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The effect of lockdown on intentional and nonintentional injury during the COVID-19 pandemic in Cape Town, South Africa: A preliminary report

P H Navsaria, A J Nicol, C D H Parry, R Matzopoulos, S Maqungo, R Gaudin

Abstract


Background. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, lockdown restrictions and a ban on alcohol sales were introduced in South Africa. 

Objectives. To investigate the impact of lockdown measures on the number of patients who visited a tertiary urban trauma centre. 

Methods. The period of investigation was from 1 February to 30 June 2020 and was segmented into three intervals: pre-lockdown (February and March 2020), hard lockdown (April and May 2020) and immediately post lockdown (June 2020). The electronic HECTIS health record registry was interrogated for the total number of patients that were seen per month. These were further categorised according to mechanism of injury (stab, gunshot, blunt assault and road traffic injuries). Penetrating (stab and gunshot) and blunt assault victims were collectively grouped as violent trauma. 

Results. The mean total number of patients seen decreased by 53% during the hard lockdown period. There was a moderate reduction (15%) in patients with gunshot injuries seen during the hard lockdown phase, but there was an 80% increase in the post-lockdown period. The proportion of patients injured in road traffic collisions pre lockdown, hard lockdown and immediate post lockdown was 16.4%, 8.9% and 11.1%, respectively. Patients injured in road traffic collisions decreased by 74% during the hard lockdown period and maintained a reduction of 32% during the immediate post-lockdown period. The mean total number of patients who visited the trauma unit returned to pre-lockdown levels in June. 

Conclusions. There was an overall trend of reduced number of patients who visited the trauma unit during the hard lockdown period; however, these numbers returned to pre-lockdown levels during the immediate post-lockdown period. The number of road traffic injury admissions remained reduced during all three phases of lockdown, while the number of gunshot victims increased substantially during the post-lockdown period.


Authors' affiliations

P H Navsaria, Trauma Centre, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa; Trauma Advocacy Group, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

A J Nicol, Trauma Centre, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa; Trauma Advocacy Group, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

C D H Parry, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa; Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa

R Matzopoulos, Trauma Advocacy Group, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa; Burden of Disease Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa; School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

S Maqungo, Trauma Advocacy Group, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa; Orthopaedic Trauma Unit, Division of Orthopaedics, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

R Gaudin, Trauma Centre, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa; Orthopaedic Trauma Unit, Division of Orthopaedics, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

COVID-19; Pandemic; Lockdown; Trauma admissions; Alcohol; Burden of disease

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2021;111(2):110-113. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2021.v111i2.15318

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-12-14
Date published: 2020-12-14

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