Hospitalizations Drop In Orlando Amid Water Crisis From Oxygen Shortage

The Covid-19 crisis in Orlando is improving for the first time in weeks. However, concerns over a lack of liquid oxygen in the region continue to threaten Orlando's water supply.

On July 26, an ambulance arrived at AdventHealth hospital in Orlando.... [+] 2021 (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket through Getty Images) SOPA Images/LightRocket through Getty Images

The Key Facts

According to the Orlando Sentinel, an official from AdventHealth said that the hospital was now caring for 1,380 Covid patients. This is a substantial drop from the 1,680 reported two days ago. The record-breaking number of Covid patients is being treated by so much liquid oxygen that the Orlando Utilities Commission requested residents to stop watering their lawns and to reduce their use of water. This is because liquid oxygen it uses to treat water treatment problems is very limited. Although there has been a moderate decrease in the usage, concerns remain about the availability of liquid oxygen. WFTV-TV reports that only two weeks are left to treat the water system that provides water to more than one million people.

Important Quote

Dr. Neil Finkler from AdventHealth stated that he believes we have not only reached a plateau, but also that we have peaked at a briefing on Thursday.

What to Watch

Orlando was the first to experience an oxygen shortage. However, the problem has now spread across the state of Florida as hospitalizations continue to rise to record levels. According to the Florida Hospital Association's Wednesday survey, 68 hospitals had less than 48 hours of oxygen left. The water supplier to the Tampa Bay area's 2.5 million residents issued a warning Wednesday about the possibility of a "changed in taste and smell in drinking water" because it had run out of liquid oxygen.

Important Background

The latest Covid surge, caused by the delta coronavirus variant, has left Central Florida one of the most affected areas in the U.S. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings (D), declared the Orlando area in "crisis mode" July 26. He urged residents to use masks and to get vaccinated. It was quickly apparent that the rapid spread of Covid in Orlando would soon be repeated in other areas. Florida is now the country's leader in new Covid cases with an average of more than 21,000 per hour. Despite the Covid rise, Gov. Ron DeSantis actually worked to relax Covid restrictions in the State, such as signing a ban on local school districts mandating masks. However, many of the state’s largest school districts, such as Orange County in Orlando, have issued mandates, despite the governor's order.

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According to AdventHealths chief medical officer (Orlando Sentinel), COVID hospitalizations may be at an all-time high.

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