ST. GEORGE, Utah (KDXU/ABC4) - According to Dr. Patrick Carroll, the Medical Director at the Intermountain Healthcare St. George Regional Hospital, caregivers have never seen patients taking over the majority of beds with a single diagnosis in the hospital’s history.

Across the state, there has been a decline in the three-day rolling average for positive COVID-19 cases, but officials say it could be because there’s an increase with at-home testing.

“In Southern Utah, that decline hasn’t been as steep as what we’ve seen in the rest of the state, although we too in Southwest Utah are seeing a slight decline in reported cases,” says Dr. Carroll.

Dr. Carroll says the hospital is working with surrounding medical facilities as they operate over capacity.

“In the hospitalized patients, the Delta variant is still the predominant variant, in the community Omicron is becoming the predominant variant,” says Carroll.

He says due to genetic mutation of Omicron, it’s possible patients may not test positive, despite having symptoms of the virus.

“It appears to be more infectious and so going through the community more quickly, we are seeing individuals that have been previously infected as well as those who have been previously vaccinating, testing positive for COVID,” he says.

Dr. Carroll says Omicron may be a more mild version of the virus, but that could change. Caregivers are seeing a stale trend in hospitalizations and in the intensive care unit.

“Time will tell whether or not there have been enough people vaccinated and boosted, previously infected, to temper the impact of Omicron, or whether that evades the immune system either from vaccinated or prior infection enough that we will see an increase in cases,” he says.

Dr. Carroll suggests residents continue to follow precautions and get a booster shot before attending a holiday gathering.

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