SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020, one Tampa Bay hospital does not have any patients hospitalized with the virus.

The team at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota has been working extremely hard since the very beginning as they treated the first coronavirus patient in the Sunshine State back on Feb. 29, 2020.

“We didn’t know what to expect. So as we moved forward and we saw what was happening, it became very stressful. We had to change processes, we had to make a lot of changes,” said Chief Nursing Officer Dr. Todd Haner.

Now, for the first time in nearly two years, there are no patients admitted to the hospital who are being treated for COVID-19.

Haner said the last patient officially left on Thursday.

“It’s a big relief, actually it’s the opportunity that we see that for the first time things are really getting better, people are being vaccinated. There’s a feeling of relief but also making sure that we continue the fight and continue to get people vaccinated,” he said. “The moral is much better. Not having a patient in the ICU that’s positive is a great thing and now none on the floor as well. Everybody’s feeling good.”

The health care professional also emphasized, however, that while this is a significant turning point, it’s important to remain vigilant.

“It’s not over, it’s still here. We can’t predict (a resurgence), I don’t have a crystal ball, I wish I did. I can say that if we do have another surge, we’ll be ready,” Haner said. “We’ve learned a lot over the last year and a half. We’re going to celebrate what we have right now, we don’t know what the future holds but we’ll deal with it when it comes.”

Residents in Sarasota County who are eligible to receive a booster shot can do so at Doctors Hospital starting as early as next week.

Sarasota County has recorded 55,233 total COVID cases since the start of the pandemic. Since the three coronavirus immunizations were released to the general public, 307,366 residents aged 12 and older have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in the Sarasota County community, which equates to 76% of the population.