SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Gov. Spencer Cox urged Utahns to get vaccinated amid an unprecedented Omicron surge in Utah on Thursday.

“Recent COVID-19 case counts and deaths are a sobering reminder of just how contagious this Omicron variant is,” says Cox. “Like every other state, we expect record case numbers for the next few weeks.”

Utah doctors and healthcare experts continue to advise getting vaccinated and practicing health protocols such as mask-wearing and social distancing when possible.

“Vaccinations and boosters have been shown to reduce hospitalizations and deaths,” says Cox. “They are the most important thing you can do to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community.”

As Utah continues recording new single-day highs in COVID-19 infections, health officials worry the surge will present problems such as overcrowding in hospitals that are already operating at or near capacity.

“Our hospitals are already stretched well beyond their capacity and are canceling procedures,” says Dr. Leisha Nolen, state epidemiologist at the Utah Department of Health. “Please, go get your shot! Think about your plans and minimize your exposure to others and when you can’t, put on that mask!”

Most recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed everyone aged 12 and older get a COVID-19 booster as soon as they’re eligible. A Pfizer booster shot for younger teens aged 12 to 15 was approved earlier this week.

“Utahns, let’s do everything we can to ease their burdens,” says Cox. “I am more optimistic than ever that this wave will bring an end to the pandemic as we know it. Please be kind and patient as we work to get through this together.”