According to the CDC, more than 1 million children reportedly tested positive for COVID last week.
The surge is challenging pediatric units in hospitals nationwide.
"I think this time last year we were all really hopeful that we wouldn't still be here," said Dr. Tracy Butler, pediatric ICU director at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. "It's sad that we are currently in this peak situation."
According to the CDC, COVID hospitalizations for children under 5 have risen 48% in the U.S. since the beginning of December.
This is the largest jump for the age group since the beginning of the pandemic.
New hospitalizations for kids under 18 are at a record level as well at 797 every day.
"Responding to [a] crisis is normal, but you usually have a lot of adrenaline when you respond to [a] crisis, and so responding to a crisis where it's a long-term crisis ... I think that's that element that has made this challenging," said Laura Anne Cleveland, an associate chief nursing officer at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.
“We're all tired. But we all still step up and continue to do our job, even in these times," said pediatric nurse Steph Miller.
"I smile when you ask, 'What is that like taking care of kids?' Because I consider it a gift," said Cleveland.
To these first responders, answering their call comes as naturally as anything else.