As states across the U.S. are being hit by the Delta variant, one state is seeing COVID cases surge to record levels, making it the worst in the nation for outbreaks of the virus.

Alaska has seen its COVID cases rise to an average of 125 new cases a day per 100,000 people, which is more than any other state in the U.S., according to data from The New York Times. This is a 42% increase in the last two weeks and a twentyfold increase since early July, the news outlet said.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska reported a record 1,330 new coronavirus cases and a near-record 209 hospitalizations on Thursday. Seven COVID-related deaths were also reported.

The COVID crisis has gotten so bad that the state has activated “crisis standards of care” by using a triage committee and giving hospitals legal protections for decisions that may force them to give some patients substandard care. In addition, the state announced an $87 million contract to bring in almost 500 temporary healthcare workers to help with the situation.

However, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said he does not see a need to implement COVID restrictions to further prevent the spread of the virus and is instead encouraging residents to seriously consider getting vaccinated, the Times reported.

As of Thursday, 58.3% of Alaska’s population was vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

But the COVID situation in Alaska has been described as “crippling” by the head of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association Jared Kosin. Speaking to the Times, he said hospitals are full, patients are waiting in their cars for care, and healthcare workers are emotionally worn out.

Dr. Joe McLaughlin, a state epidemiologist, told the Anchorage Daily News that “at this point, there’s no indication that I’ve seen that we are leveling off.”

While the surge in COVID cases is being attributed to several factors, including summer tourists, Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, told the Times, “We’re hoping that as the snow falls and we have less people visiting, those numbers will settle down.”

But she also warned that the colder weather could cause the virus to also spread more easily as Alaskans are forced indoors.

Alaska has reported over 105,800 coronavirus cases and over 488 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic started, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Pfizer raised its 2021 forecasts based on surging demand for Covid-19 vaccines Pfizer raised its 2021 forecasts based on surging demand for Covid-19 vaccines Photo: AFP / JAVIER TORRES