DENVER — As Coloradans celebrate Christmas, many health care workers are working through the holiday on the front lines against COVID-19.

“We’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, doing all of those critical tests,” said Amy Hamill, medical laboratory scientist lead at UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital. “This morning, I came in and started right away.”

Hamill is one of hundreds of health care workers across the state working overtime and behind the scenes to get the coronavirus pandemic under control. To date, UCHealth has performed more than 420,000 COVID-19 tests under the leadership of laboratory scientists.

“At this point, we’re just trying to maximize our efficiency and get them out as quickly as we can,” Hamill said. “Our hospitals, they’re still really full, and there’s still lots and lots of tests that need done.”

This year has been especially taxing on health care personnel across the health system in Colorado, but employees say there is reason to be hopeful with the release of several new vaccines.

“This is the first step,” said Hamill, who received the vaccine earlier in December. “As soon as we get enough supply for everybody, hopefully, things will really turn around.”

Though there is lots of work to be done over the holidays, she said this year, it is especially rewarding.

“I know that everybody in my profession is doing their best to stay safe and healthy so that we can do our jobs,” Hamill said. “We so appreciate the people at home, who are doing the same.”