“We had fully expected it would get worse,” Griffin said. “I think what has surprised me is that really just in a matter of days, it’s like we opened up a spigot and a huge number of patients influx to us.”

The largely rural state had seen only mild outbreaks in the spring and summer when other parts of the country were hard hit. As of Thursday the state was seeing an average of 1,334 new cases per day, after seeing no more than 400 a day in the summer.

“I think a lot of times people in rural areas feel like, ‘Hey, we’re immune to the things that happen in the big cities,'” Griffin said. “That’s clearly not the case with regards to this.”