SALT LAKE CITY — On Tuesday, workers at St. Mark's Hospital in Holladay took to Facebook to share some good news; it was the first day in over 431 days that the hospital didn't have a newly admitted COVID-19 patient.
But despite declining hospitalizations and case rates across the state, both University of Utah Hospital and the Intermountain Medical Center report being busier than ever.
"We are all very relieved that the worst seems to be behind us," said Dr. Russell Vinik, chief medical operations officer for University of Utah Healthcare. "We're also very cautious."
Vinik says although they are seeing a continued drop new cases and hospitalizations compared to a few months ago, things are not easy at the University of Utah Hospital.
"There is a higher incidence of stress and depression nationally among healthcare workers now then there was during height of the pandemic," he added. "A lot of people who delayed care during covid are now getting care. So, we are as busy or busier than we ever were. Fortunately, it's not COVID."
Vinik said many patients with serious conditions have largely avoided hospitals for the last year due to case rates and community spread of the virus. They are now returning en masse. The trend is the same at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.
"We are extremely busy," said Dr. Mark Ott, medical director at the Intermountain Medical Center. "People have been working for well over a year now at, you know, full tilt and we're still working at full tilt because we have people who need us."
Both doctors praised the efforts by those in the community who have been vaccinated and done their part to stop the spread of COVID-19, but warn that things could easily turn if the community does not remain diligent.
"Please, if you haven't been vaccinated get vaccinated," Ott said. "As soon as your children are at the age range that they can get vaccinated, you know down to twelve now, get those kids vaccinated. The sooner we get people vaccinated the safer it is for everybody."
"There's definitely no high fives in the hospital," Vinik added. "This is not a mission accomplished, this is a continued mission and continued care."