NIC Notes

Insights in Seniors Housing & Care

By: Omar Zahraoui  |  February 23, 2021

New COVID-19 Cases in Skilled Nursing Continue Decline, Far Steeper than U.S. Overall Cases

COVID-19  |  Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing facilities could be curbing COVID-19 sooner than we thought. Sadly, the impact on bereaved families will last forever.

“The decline in COVID-19 cases and fatalities within skilled nursing facilities is particularly notable and corroborates the effectiveness of the vaccine. The promising results of the Long-Term Care (LTC) vaccination program should be building confidence in COVID-19 vaccines among staff and the broader population to get vaccinated and help bring an end to the pandemic.” Beth Mace, Chief Economist, NIC

Seven weeks after the speedy vaccine rollout across U.S. long term care communities, CMS data unequivocally show that new infections in skilled nursing facilities have been, continue to be, and will likely continue to be, in a steep downward trend.

Data just published in NIC’s Skilled Nursing COVID-19 Tracker, for the week ending February 7, 2021, show that new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in skilled nursing facilities fell 83% over the last 7 weeks—from 32,563 on December 20, 2020 to 5,473 on February 7, 2021—while U.S. new cases fell 47% over the span of those same seven weeks.

Skilled nursing facilities reported a per-resident rate of new COVID-19 infections of 0.54% on February 7, a 2.5 percentage point drop since the December peak.

As of February 9, the status of vaccination clinics shows that about 88% of skilled nursing facilities participating in the CVS program have received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines. The status of clinics from Walgreens shows that 14 states have completed their second clinic in skilled nursing facilities (clinics through February 8). See exhibits 5 and 6 at the end of this blog for more details.

Exhibit 1 – Weekly new COVID-19 cases in SNF vs. U.S.

Data compiled by NIC’s Skilled Nursing COVID Tracker also show that fatalities are down 65% in skilled nursing facilities since the launch of the LTC vaccination program on December 20. Unfortunately, the U.S. weekly new COVID-19 fatalities increased by 17% over the same period, according to the CDC.

The new fatalities in skilled nursing facilities as a share of total fatalities in the U.S. appears to have varied between 21% and 43% on a week-over-week basis since CMS began reporting data in late May 2020. However, for the first time, the reported new fatalities within skilled nursing facilities accounted for approximately 14% on January 31 and 9% on February 7 (data for the week ending February 7 is preliminary).

Although the number of people who have died from the novel coronavirus on a week-over-week basis has been declining in skilled nursing facilities, it is still high. Each number is a person, a family member, a friend, and a loved one. Sadly, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on bereaved families will last forever. A recent study published by the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that about 4.5 million people have experienced a family bereavement in the U.S. due to the pandemic. This provides some sense of the true scale of this pandemic tragedy but does not take into account those who have been infected and very sick, some with lasting symptoms.

Exhibit 2 – Weekly new COVID-19 fatalities in SNF vs. U.S

Exhibits 3 and 4 depict the drop in cases and fatalities within skilled nursing facilities across the four regions of the U.S.

Exhibit 3: New COVID-19 confirmed cases as a share of residents within skilled nursing facilities – By region

Exhibit 4: New COVID-19 Fatalities as a share of residents within skilled nursing facilities – By region

Source: NIC’s Skilled Nursing COVID-19 Tracker – CMS Data as of February 7, 2021

To gain in-depth insights and track the week-over-week change rate for new resident cases and fatalities of COVID-19 within skilled nursing facilities at the state and county levels, visit NIC.org. You can also access the Skilled Nursing COVID-19 Tracker along with a rich trove of analysis and insight on the NIC COVID-19 Resource Center.

For more reading on the effects of vaccines in skilled nursing facilities, see the following blogs:

Rate of New COVID-19 Infections in Skilled Nursing Facilities Continues to Plummet* (Published on February 17, 2021)

COVID-19 Case Counts Falling in Skilled Nursing Properties Following Vaccine Rollout (Published on February 9, 2021)

NIC is committed to provide timely data, analyses and insights that increase transparency and understanding of the sector, especially in this difficult time of COVID-19. We strongly support all actions and efforts that prioritize distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and availability of PPE to protect frontline workers and residents.

Exhibit 5: CVS – Status of clinics in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living and other LTC facilities

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Exhibit 6: Walgreens – Status of clinics in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living and other LTC

facilities

CLICK TO VIEW FULL PDF

About Omar Zahraoui

Omar Zahraoui, a data analyst at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), is a seniors housing research professional with expertise in providing quantitative analysis and insights on seniors housing & care market data; building new products and reporting capabilities, including dashboards and proformas for clients and internal stakeholders; and implementing new processes and data solutions. Prior to his current role, Omar worked as a data analyst, at Calpine Corporation, supporting the development of new-business strategy initiatives, analyzing sales and financial data, and developing statistical modeling of consumers’ behaviors to drive business performance. Omar holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Management, a Master in Corporate Finance from IAE Lyon School of Management at Jean Moulin Lyon III University in France, and a Master of Science in Management Information Systems and Data Analytics from Pace University.

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