By Team

ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) – Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is urging residents to conserve water due to the recent surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

How are they connected?

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The Orlando Utility Commission treats the city’s water with liquid oxygen and supplies that ordinarily go toward water treatment have been diverted to hospitals for patients suffering from the virus.

The city-owned utility typically goes through 10 trucks of liquid oxygen a week but its supplier recently said that could be cut back to five to seven trucks a week to accommodate hospitals.

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“Nationally, the demand for liquid oxygen is extremely high as the priority for its use is to save lives,” the mayor said in a Facebook post on Friday.

Residents are being asked to immediately limit watering their lawns and landscapes, take short showers, repair leaking faucets and toilets, stop washing their vehicles and performing “non-critical activities” like pressure washing, the municipal utility said in a notice.

OUC said it is “difficult to determine” how long shortages of liquid oxygen will last, “because it is tied to the number of COVID-19 patients being treated in hospitals with oxygen.” When those hospitalizations decline, the liquid oxygen supply will likely increase, according to the utility company.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.) Team