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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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County Board open to GAA museum proposals

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.

There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.

Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.

His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.

Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.

However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.

“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”

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Loreto pupils are happy to help save the planet

By Michelle Crean School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign. Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme. It’s all about taking on […]

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By Michelle Crean

School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign.

Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme.

It’s all about taking on a litter-picking adventure in their local area as well as learning songs, reading storybooks, filling in activity books while witnessing that their real-world actions are making a positive difference and inspiring others to join the movement.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists, teacher Claire O’Meara explained.

“The Picker Pal Programme is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our environment,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Real litter-picking is motivated by a Picker Pack made from upcycled dinghy sails and containing adult and child litter-picking tools, gloves, hi-vis vests and safety information.

“This pack is then taken home by a different pupil every week. That child takes their adult on a litter-picking adventure. The children then tell the story of their litter-picking adventures through art and writing. Raising awareness is an essential part of the solution to littering. Picker Pals gives young people the tools and positive motivation to steward their local environment and make the world a better place.”

The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE Ireland, is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and various local authorities across Ireland.

Now in its third year of operation, over one thousand schools all across Ireland will be taking part in the Picker Pals programme this year. In Kerry, 29 schools are taking part, and Scoil Bhríde, Loreto is delighted to be included, she added.

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