INDIANAPOLIS– Indiana University Health announced Thursday it is temporarily suspending all inpatient elective surgeries and procedures throughout its system starting on Sept. 6.

IU Health said a surge in COVID-19 patient volumes continues to “accelerate at a rapid pace.”

The change is needed to help relieve pressure on care teams and free up space for patients who are critically ill.

Patients who have elective surgeries are being notified.

IU Health said the suspension will be monitored and extended as need on a basis of two-week periods.

State data shows all but four Indiana counties are in the higher transmission categories for COVID-19 spread in the latest weekly map.

State health officials have attributed the increase to the rapid spread of the delta variant; the health department said 98.4% of samples tested this month were for delta.

Case numbers and hospitalizations are at levels not seen since Indiana was coming down from its winter peak in mid-to-late January, according to data from the Indiana State Department of Health.