Florida mayor appeals to residents to limit water use amid COVID surge

Florida mayor appeals to residents to limit water use amid COVID surge
City of Orlando / Wikimedia Commons

The mayor of Orlando, Fla., is urging residents to limit water use due to the recent surge in COVID cases and hospitalizations across the state.

According to HuffPost, Mayor Buddy Dyer (D) is urging residents to limit watering their lawns and washing vehicles for at least the next week.

During a recent news conference, the request is part of an initiative to decrease the amount of water being used due to alarming uptick of COVID cases in the state.

According to Dyer, "The Orlando Utility Commission (OUC) 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."

"We acknowledge that the No. 1 priority for the liquid oxygen should be for hospitals," Dyer said during the conference.

Linda Ferrone, OUC's chief customer and marketing officer, also explained the shift in the supply of liquid oxygen. She noted that the city's utility company uses an average of 10 trucks a week. However, that number has been decreased "to five to seven trucks a week to accommodate hospitals."

With 40% of Orlando's potable water supply being used for irrigation, she emphasized how the usage would be diminished if residents utilize water at their regular rates.

"We realize this is drastic and unprecedented," Ferrone said. "If worse came to worse, we would have to look at a boil water alert."

Dyer's appeal to residents comes as the state faces a surge in COVID cases. Over the last seven days, Florida has reported more than 150,000 new COVID cases as hospitalizations continue to increase.

"This is unfortunately a crisis of unprecedented proportions," said Dr. Vincent Hsu, who works as the executive director of infection prevention at AdventHealth.

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