Orlando water supply in jeopardy as COVID-19 surge causes shortage of liquid oxygen


ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) — As hospitals continue to see more COVID-19 patients due to the delta variant surge, liquid oxygen supplies are running low.

Friday afternoon, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and OUC Chief Customer and Marketing Officer Linda Ferrone warned the public that this may lead to a limited water supply.

Dyer explained that many COVID-19 patients require liquid oxygen for their treatment. The problem is OUC has used liquid oxygen to treat the water supply for years.

Nationally and locally, the demand for liquid oxygen is high as COVID-19 has surged, and many have not been vaccinated.

Dyer said there could be impacts to the water quality if the city doesn’t reduce the amount of water it needs to treat.

“We’re trying to get out ahead of this,” he said.

The city is limiting watering at parks and ballfields.

“It’s another result of what happens when people don’t get vaccinated, become critically ill, and require medical treatment,” Dyer said. “If you haven’t been vaccinated, now is the time.”

He also added ways citizens can help conserve water.

“You can immediately start to help by temporarily limiting watering of your lawn and washing of your cars,” he said. “I know our community, working together, can overcome this.”

Ferrone stated that the city typically gets 10 containers of liquid oxygen per week, and that number has been reduced to about half during the shortage.

If the shortage due to COVID-19 gets even worse, that could lead to a citywide boil order.

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