Part of a unit from a Texas oil refinery has suspended operations due to an oxygen supply shortage in the area, Bloomberg reported.
Sulfur recovery units use oxygen in an effort to retrieve sulfur, which comes from raw materials, to meet the chemical element's emissions standards. A Texas environmental filing noted that Citgo Petroleum Corp. had halted part of that unit’s operations due to a higher medical need for oxygen in the area, Bloomberg noted.
The Hill has reached out to Citgo for comment.
The announcement comes as hospitals in states like South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana and Texas are grappling with oxygen shortages amid a higher number of COVID-19 cases, CNN reported.
Some hospitals were running on a reserve of up to only a day’s worth of oxygen, a supply-purchasing group said, according to Bloomberg.
In Texas, the state saw over 21,000 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and over 28,000 cases the day prior, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). New daily cases were in the hundreds in July.
About 69 percent of Texans aged 12 years and older have been at least partially vaccinated, while 57 percent are fully vaccinated.
Yet some officials have had to take measures, including closing schools or requiring masks inside classrooms, to mitigate further spread of COVID-19. Due to COVID-19 outbreaks, at least four school districts in Texas have already temporarily closed their classrooms, The Associated Press reported.
The wire service noted that Indian Oil Corp. also had to redirect oxygen to hospitals earlier this year, as physicians saw a higher number of COVID-19 cases.