OUC, the water and utilities provider for the City of Orlando, announced Friday an urgent need for residents to decrease water usage as the agency faces a potential supply shortage. The agency is asking all residents in Orlando to stop all lawn watering with fresh water. Watering with reclaimed water can still continue. The supply shortage comes from increased demand from hospitals needing liquid oxygen, which has been proven effective for treating COVID-19 patients in hospitals. CBS12 from West Palm Beach reported several weeks ago this shortage could occur in Florida and other hard hit areas.
All local hospital systems have exceeded prior patient levels. For example, Advent Health has re-implemented patient visitor restrictions and delaying elective procedures. According to ClickOrlando.com, across the state of Florida there are approximately 17,000 COVID-19 patients, 90% of which are unvaccinated. The vaccines for COVID-19 have been proven effective, as shown in this data, and information on getting a free vaccine is available at floridahealthcovid19.gov.
We reached out to Orange County Utilities, which supplies water to the Horizon West region, about their supply of liquid oxygen and if any action is needed from their customers. A public relations specialist returned our email with the following comment:
We understand that increased demand for liquid oxygen has greatly impacted some water authorities across the state. We are actively monitoring the situation and participating in discussions with Florida’s regional agencies. Although Orange County Utilities customers do not need to take precautions at this time, we will communicate if any additional steps are needed to conserve water.
If this shortage starts to impact Orange County, we will provide an update once information is shared.
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