Six patients who needed care — including four with COVID-19 — were left waiting for a room overnight Wednesday because there were no beds available at the local hospital.

By Wednesday afternoon, there were 22 COVID-19 patients at Johnson Memorial Hospital — tying the hospital’s highest number of COVID-19 patients since the start of the pandemic. The patients represented all ages, and four were on ventilators, said Dr. David Dunkle, president and CEO of Johnson Memorial Health.

COVID-19 is spreading rapidly, and Johnson Memorial is once again diverting patients due to the pandemic.

Across Indiana on Wednesday, there were nearly 3,000 newly reported COVID-19 cases, 68 of which were Johnson County residents. Two more deaths from the virus were also reported, bringing the county’s total to 408, according to the Indiana Department of Health.

Several hospitals across the state have gone on diversion, a move that lets emergency medical service personnel know a hospital does not have enough beds for patients in their emergency room.

Johnson Memorial was on diversion throughout the Labor Day weekend. There were times on Tuesday when the hospital was not, but as of Wednesday afternoon, the hospital was once again diverting patients, Dunkle said.

Though Johnson Memorial is on diversion, the hospital would never turn away someone who needs care, he said.

“We will treat people,” Dunkle said.

Some Indiana hospitals are again canceling non-emergency surgeries due to both increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients and staffing shortages.

Last week, Indiana University Health, one of the state’s largest health care systems, said they would be stopping all inpatient non-emergency surgeries due to a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations starting Sept. 6. The move was designed to alleviate the stress on the hospital network’s care teams, the Associated Press reported.

Schneck Medical Center, a hospital in Seymour, said Tuesday it may postpone some non-emergency surgeries that require a hospital stay to conserve resources, such as beds and supplies, and may reassign staff to treat both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized, The Republic reported.

Columbus Regional Hospital is also considering postponing some non-emergency procedures, though no decision had been made Wednesday, the Daily Journal’s sister paper reported.

Johnson Memorial had to cancel a non-emergency surgery on Tuesday, because there was no bed for the patient. However, the hospital has not canceled any other surgeries, and will make that decision on a day-to-day basis, Dunkle said.

“We can’t predict what the day will bring,” he said.

Several hospitals across the country have had to ration care due to COVID-19 and the more contagious Delta variant, which accounts for 98.4% of Indiana cases currently. Health care workers are overwhelmed, creating staffing shortages in multiple areas, including nurses, lab technicians, ultrasound technicians, respirator therapists and others, Dunkle said.

Considering the situation, it is disheartening to see photos of people protesting masks as cases continue to increase and hospitals struggle to deal with it, he said.

The increasing number of hospitals going on diversion is due to COVID-19, and those who are refusing to get vaccinated are part of the issue, Dunkle said. The vast majority of patients admitted with COVID-19 in the last few weeks were unvaccinated, he said.

“It is extremely frustrating that hospitals across the country are being overwhelmed with people refusing to be vaccinated,” Dunkle said.

Less than 1% of fully-vaccinated individuals are hospitalized if infected with COVID-19. About 60% of Johnson County residents are vaccinated, state data shows.