PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island have been trending down for more than a week, but data shows hospitalizations are at an all-time high.

It’s put a strain on hospitals, but health care workers at Miriam Hospital got a boost Wednesday morning.

People were seen lining the sidewalks outside the hospital to greet health care workers during the morning shift change and thank them for their work during the pandemic.

They were met with cheers, applause and people of all ages holding signs saying “thank you.”

“This time during the pandemic when some of this activity has really come to lesser than it has early on it means a great deal to the staff because it’s getting fatiguing, it’s been almost 23 months now,” President of Miram Hospital Maria Ducharme said.

The rally comes as hospitals deal with the effects of the omicron surge. Revised data from the R.I. Department of Health shows there were 556 COVID-19 patients in Rhode Island’s hospitals as of Wednesday, Jan. 12, which is the most since the start of the pandemic.

“It’s incredible to me that these folks are getting up and coming in every day with less staff to work with more hospitalizations and I think if there’s any time to show support, it’s in the middle of it right now,” rally organizer Mark Lambert said.

Staff members were also given handwritten letters and drawings from local elementary school students thanking them for giving their all.