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Florida’s Orlando residents have been urged to curb their water consumption due to a recent surge in COVID hospitalizations.

According to WESH, city mayor Buddy Dyer made the request during a press conference Friday, telling the public to stop watering their lawns and washing their cars for at least one week. Dyer explained that the Orlando Utilities Commission treats the city’s water with liquid oxygen, but the supply is running short, as the substance is also being used to treat COVID patients. 

“Our hospitals are experiencing the highest number of unvaccinated critically ill patients at this point, as any other point during a pandemic,” Dryer said. “Many of these patients require liquid oxygen for their respiratory treatment. This liquid oxygen is a critical part of the care that hospitals are providing to try to fight the deadly disease and to save lives.”

OUC’s chief customer and marketing officer Linda Ferrone said the city typically gets about 10 trucks of liquid oxygen per week, but the supplier may have to cut the amount in half to accommodate patients’ needs.

“We’ll continue to evaluate the situation as we make our way through those several weeks,” she said about the water restrictions.

Mayor Dyer went on to say that if residents do not limit their water usage immediately, officials may implement a citywide boiling-water order to ensure the public’s safety.

“So what does that mean to us here in Orlando? It means that there could be impacts to our water quality if we don’t immediately reduce the amount of water that we need to treat,” he continued. “It’s a pretty simple thing that we are asking our residential customers. Let’s just not water your yard for a week. In all likelihood there will be thunderstorms during the week anyway.”