As COVID cases surge, Hillsborough County asks residents to conserve water to save liquid oxygen for hospitals

Nearly 94% of Florida’s adult intensive-care unit beds are occupied, according to data posted Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health.

As COVID cases surge, Hillsborough County asks residents to conserve water to save liquid oxygen for hospitals
PHOTO VIA ADOBE


This week, Florida became the only state in the country where more people are currently dying from COVID-19 than any other time during the pandemic. Thanks to Gov. DeSantis, local governments and school boards are limited in how they can respond to the more contagious delta variant. As a result, hospitals are running out of liquid oxygen to treat patients.

As of today, Hillsborough County is asking residents to conserve water by eliminating non-essential water use, which includes cutting back on watering lawns, using pressure washers, and washing vehicles. 

Due to a lack of liquid oxygen deliveries to the facility, the county's water supplier will also be forced to change it’s treatment process. Instead of using liquid oxygen, Tampa Bay Water, will temporarily switch to sodium hypochlorite, commonly known as bleach, at its Lithia Hydrogen Sulfide Removal Facility. 

“Consumers who are sensitive to taste and odor changes in drinking water might notice a slight change during this period; however, this treatment change will not alter the quality of the drinking water,” said the county in a statement. 

Officials say it’s unclear how long the shortage will last, but the supply of liquid oxygen will likely increase after COVID-19 cases decrease. 

Last week, Orlando also had to ask residents to conserve water because of a shortage of liquid oxygen. 

Nearly 94% of Florida’s adult intensive-care unit beds are occupied, according to data posted Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health.

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About The Author

Colin Wolf

Colin Wolf has been working with weekly newspapers since 2007 and has been the Digital Editor for Creative Loafing Tampa since 2019. He is also the Director of Digital Content Strategy for CL's parent company, Euclid Media Group.
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