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Situation at UHK is “dynamic and changing by the hour”

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University Hospital Kerry.

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By Michelle Crean

Under pressure staff at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) are having to adapt to a fast pace as they get to grips with the COVID-19 crisis which “is very dynamic and changing by the hour”.

With 72 reported COVID-19 cases in the county as revealed by the National Public Health Emergency Team last evening (Thursday), and believed to be at least two COVID-19 related deaths - one in Tralee and one in Mid-Kerry - the hospital is making a number of preparations should numbers continue to escalate.

As of yesterday, there was 3,849 confirmed cases and a total of 98 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.

In UHK, a patient flow hub room has been established and is manned 24 hours a day, effectively the base for management of all COVID-19 inpatients at the hospital, while many medical staff from across the hospital are being redeployed and upskilled to assist their colleagues with COVID-19 patients. All other cohorts of staff are being deployed as required to meet daily changing demands.

Yesterday (Thursday), the hospital said that UHK is working closely with community partners to ensure the appropriate and timely discharging of vulnerable patients.

“The recent announcement regarding private hospitals is very much welcome, and here in Kerry, the additional bed capacity of the Bon Secours Hospital Tralee will greatly assist in dealing with this crisis. Within UHK, works are nearing completion of an additional 30 bed ward which will also boost our capacity to manage COVID-19 patients. UHK is working closely with the South/South West Hospital Group and national logistics to ensure that all our staff have appropriate PPE to care for COVID-19 patients.”

‘Virtual Clinics’ have also been set up to continue the care of UHK patients to meet patients’ health care needs as the evolving COVID-19 issues have required cancellation of face to face outpatient clinics in UHK. Urgent face to face outpatient clinics are continuing in UHK, though very limited and based on urgent need only.

Maternity services are now taking place at the Institute of Technology. Patients are being contacted with regard to the change in location. Online videography has been prepared for Maternity Parent Education and will be shared on UHK’s social media this week.

Regarding visiting restrictions, women admitted for induction of labour or in labour can have one nominated companion. This companion can only join the woman when she is in labour or called for caesarean section. For all other inpatients, including antenatal inpatients and postnatal inpatients, no visitors are allowed, for patients in the neonatal unit, mothers only are allowed, and for outpatients, only the women attending the appointment are allowed – no partners, children or companions are allowed.

The Emergency Department at UHK is continuing to accept all emergencies and have set up a clear division pathway between normal emergency and respiratory (potential COVID-19) emergency patients.

UHK has been completely humbled by the outpouring of support from the community.

“For donations of medical supplies including PPE, FFP2 Masks Medical Grade, hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol, surgical grade ear loop facemasks or tieback face masks, masks with face shields, goggles, isolation gowns and surgical gloves, our drop off location is Unit 1 B, Clash Industrial Estate, Monday to Friday from 9.30am-12.30pm and 2.30-4.30pm. From there, our logistics team will evaluate same and if suitable, UHK will utilise as part of our PPE replenishment daily. UHK is greatly inspired by the response of retired/ex staff who have joined with us working in areas such as contact tracing and occupational health. Our utmost gratitude is extended to these and the many volunteers who are assisting our efforts.”

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NPWS survey to find out impact of fires

By Michelle Crean The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April. The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find […]

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By Michelle Crean

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April.

The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find out the biological impacts of the fires in the 26,000 acre park.

The fires in April burned from Friday night on April 23 until around 12pm the following Monday when they were finally brought under control.

Parts of the Park were scorched resulting in flora and fauna being wiped out. Some fires came as close as 10 metres to a church and school in the Black Valley area.

Fires raged near Tomies Wood and fire crews from five different districts quenched fires near the properties under threat. A real threat was for The Oak Woods but fire fighters managed to avert danger.

The fire is believed to have begun on the Kenmare Road area escalated by the strong winds.

“The purpose of this tender is to commission a comprehensive survey of the impacts, and the chrono-sequence of fire recovery or otherwise, on lands burned over the past four decades, as well as surveys in unburned areas, in order to assess the biological impacts of the fires, in particular the fire of April 2021, on the biodiversity of Killarney National Park,” an NPWS spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

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Killarney spin will bring comfort to patients

By Michelle Crean Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town. Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22. This year due to COVID […]

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By Michelle Crean

Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town.

Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22.

This year due to COVID restrictions the 54321 team will run with two teams of five people, all female – who are raising funds for one single charity – Comfort for Chemo Kerry.

Their four day challenge will include a cycle the Ring of Kerry on day one (Thursday 19), a climb up Carrantuohil on day two (Friday 20), a cycle from Killarney to the foot of Cnoc Na Tobair and then climb Cnoc Na Tobair on day three (Saturday 21) finishing off with a cycle of the Skellig Ring on day four (Sunday 22).

In advance of the ninth annual challenge they will first participate in the spinathons at various locations to help raise much needed funds for this year’s chosen charity.

The first of the spinathons will take place on Saturday, July 31 in Listowel, Killorglin, Dingle, Cahersiveen. On the day volunteers will take to the spinning bikes from 10am to 5pm in different locations around these towns.
This will be followed by Killarney on Sunday, August 15, and Tralee on Saturday, August 28.

When choosing this year’s charity, organisers contacted a past participant and a dear friend, Mairead Dunphy from Glencar who is currently on her own journey with cancer.

“We wanted to show our support to Mairead and knowing that she would like to support those who have supported her on her journey so far, she had already being looking at ideas to raise much needed funds for Comfort for Chemo Kerry,” TJ O’Connor said.

“Please support Comfort for Chemo Kerry by giving what you can.”

For more information about the spinathons go to www.54321challenge.org or the Comfort for Chemo Kerry Facebook page for online donation information.

There’s also a GoFundMe page: ‘Comfort for Chemo Kerry – 54321 Challenge 2021’ which has a €20,000 target set up.

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