RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, Monument Health announced it has no COVID-19 patients in any of its five Black Hills hospitals. 

Monument Health is celebrating the day as “Zero Day.” Monument Health said it received its first COVID-19 patient on March 26, 2020 and has been taking care of COVID-19 patients ever since. 

“Although we could see more COVID-19 cases tomorrow, we can still celebrate our first Zero Day since the pandemic began more than two years ago,” Dr. Shankar Kurra, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Rapid City Hospital, said in a news release. 

Monument Health said its peak was caring for 110 COVID-19 patients in August 2021. 

Kurra said immunity from vaccination or antibodies after a previous infection is part of the reason for a drop in hospitalizations. 

Kurra added immunity fades over time and vaccination is still important.