Aug 27, 2021 - COVID
Tampa Bay urged to conserve water to help COVID patients
Illustration of a garden hose with a ventilator mask on the end.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The increased demand for liquid oxygen has created competition between local hospitals that need it for COVID patients, and the rest of us who need it for clean drinking water.

What you can do: All water users in the Tampa Bay area are being asked to help conserve drinking water by cutting back on non-essentials, like washing cars or watering your lawn, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

State of play: COVID-19 patients are more likely to survive on high-flow nasal oxygen versus mechanical ventilation, and the former can use 10 times more liquid oxygen.

  • Hospitals also prefer liquid oxygen because it takes up less space and is easier to store than gas.

Yes, but: Liquid oxygen is also used by municipalities to purify water that’s pumped to our homes.

  • Keep an eye out: As municipal water services use other methods of purification, it might mean your water will taste and smell different for a while.
  • Tampa's water department was waiting on a late shipment Thursday, and considering using chlorine to treat its water if the liquid oxygen didn’t arrive.

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