SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – As South Dakota sees COVID-19 cases surge once again with the Omicron variant, many are wondering when the end of this pandemic will come. Meanwhile, many health care workers are also wondering when things will start to slow down again in the hospitals.

Health care professionals are hopeful the end of the pandemic is inching closer.

“What I expect is whether it be the Omicron variant or whether it be the next variant down the road, that variant is going to continue to choose to be infectious, but hopefully less severe,” Dr. Jeremy Cauwels, Chief Physician with Sanford Health said. “And if it does that, if it chooses — and choose is not maybe the right word — if it selects to be less severe, then what we’re going to see is something that evolves into the common cold, which, by the way, is the other five coronaviruses that we already know about.”

Of course, they say only time will tell with COVID-19.

“This has been a very humbling virus, a very humbling pandemic,” Dr. Kevin Post, Chief Medical Officer for Avera Medical Group said. “So we’re hopeful that this may be the last wave, but as all of us know, we don’t know what lies ahead.”

The hopefulness for an end is like a light at the end of the tunnel for those who have been on the frontlines every day of this pandemic, though.

“I think if you ask any nurse who’s been doing this the last three years, they’re tired,” Cauwels said. “And tired probably isn’t even the right word. Exhausted might be the right word but they’re just finding a way to keep going to work one more day in the hopes that some where on the other side of this is something a little bit closer to normal.”

And when COVID-19 has slowed down, what will support look like for those health care workers?

“I think there needs to be a lot of recovery,” Post said. “There needs to be a very open understanding that we will not come out of this the same way we went in. So how do we recover in a healthy way so we can continue to be healthy for our families, for our coworkers, for our patients and our communities.”

In Monday night’s Eye on KELOLAND, Lauren Soulek sits down with these doctors from Sanford and Avera to answer the questions many have been asking about the end of COVID-19 — when will the pandemic end? Will there be booster shots each year? How soon could this all be over?