GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KREX) — The sound of sirens is always alarming. EMS and ambulance services have been busier than ever, racing to emergencies with no sign of slowing down.

With Omicron spreading as fast as the blink of an eye, Mesa County just hit another frightening milestone in the pandemic.

Stefany Busch, with Mesa County Public Health, says, “on Sunday, January 9th, we saw our highest single day case count we’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic at 532 cases reported.”

Some of those new cases involve children ages five and younger. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the hospitalization rate in that age group has risen to more than 4 of every 100,000 children, nationally. On the Western Slope, things seem less severe, so far.

Dr. Janet Moore, with Community Hospital, says, “children that I have seen who have COVID five and younger have very mild symptoms. I’ve only hospitalized one who had some comorbidity, other problems besides covid to be on the safe. They tend to be very minimal with their symptoms.”

St. Mary’s hospital issued this statement regarding the current COVID conditions: “St. Mary’s continues experiencing an increased patient census due to the continuous rise in COVID-19 cases in our community, now primarily due to the Omicron variant.”

A staffing crisis in other areas of Colorado mean calls are now prioritized. In Mesa County, 32 licensed ambulances across nine transportation agencies are working together to field emergency calls.

Dirk Clingman, with the Grand Junction Fire Department, says, “if you call for an ambulance, you’re going to get one.”

Local health officials strongly recommend vaccination to prevent severe illness, but if you’re ever facing a life-threatening situation, local EMS responders are always a call away.