Contain alcohol use to keep emergency rooms open for Covid-19, expert says

"We can keep our emergency rooms open if we can contain the amount of alcohol people drink," said Professor Glenda Gray.
"We can keep our emergency rooms open if we can contain the amount of alcohol people drink," said Professor Glenda Gray.
Image: Tyler Olson/ 123RF.com

If the amount of alcohol people drink can be contained, emergency rooms can be mainly used to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, an expert says.

In order to keep hospitals open, the use of medical centres for other reasons needed to be minimised, Professor Glenda Gray said on Monday evening during a discussion on the country's fight against the coronavirus.

This includes alcohol-related cases at hospitals.

Gray said SA's Medical Research Council will be looking at ways to minimise alcohol-related admissions at hospitals.

“We know that emergency care in hospitals is taken up by alcohol use.  We can keep our emergency rooms open if we can contain the amount of alcohol people drink.

“We will be working on the impact of alcohol use and how it impacts our emergency care,” Gray said.

Gray said we needed “all hands on deck” to fight the pandemic.

She said it was vital to make sure that healthcare workers are provided with adequate personal protective equipment, as well as training. Measures should also be taken to ensure that they are supported.

“These are our frontline workers and we need to make sure that they are well supported, protected and trained.

"The whole nation needs to work together because it’s a long-term march and not a sprint,” she said.  

Times Select reports that South Africa’s lockdown will have to be extended if there are more than 90 new cases a day over the next few days.

This is according to epidemiologist Prof Salim Adbool Karim, who is a government advisor.

This week would show whether the pattern of between 45 and 90 cases a day – or 67 cases on average – was accurate.

“If. . .we see 90 or more cases, on average, between April 10 and 16, then we need to continue the lockdown. And the reason, put very simply, is that the average number of cases per day is going up,” said Abdool Karim.

Also, if there is more than one positive test for 1,000 active screenings, “then we continue the lockdown”.

“If it’s below one in 1,000 then we can ease the lockdown. Similarly, if the absolute number of cases is 44 or lower, then we can ease the lockdown,” he said.

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