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By: Omar Zahraoui  |  February 17, 2021

Rate of New COVID-19 Infections in Skilled Nursing Facilities  Continues to Plummet*

COVID-19  |  Skilled Nursing

The per-resident rate of new COVID-19 infections continues to plummet in skilled nursing facilities, with a two percentage point drop and a likely continued downward trend.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel, and we don’t think it’s a train,” said a participant in a recent NIC Community Connector™ Meetup.

NIC’s Skilled Nursing COVID-19 Tracker, featuring the latest CMS data updated as of January 31, 2021, shows that newly confirmed COVID-19 cases within skilled nursing facilities continued to plummet. For the week ending January 31, the per-resident rate of new COVID-19 infections dropped to July levels as skilled nursing facilities reported a two percentage point drop in infections from 3% on December 20 when the Long Term Care (LTC) vaccination program was launched to 1% on January 31. The chart below depicts this decline.

New COVID-19 confirmed cases within skilled nursing facilities continued to fall at a faster pace compared to the U.S overall new cases. Notably, new confirmed cases within skilled nursing facilities are down 49% from 32,521 on December 20 to 16,701 on January 24, while U.S. new reported cases are down 24% over the same period.

Since January 31, U.S. COVID-19 cases have continued to fall steadily. On February 16, the rolling daily average of new infections hit its lowest level since October. In addition, the count of people receiving two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines as reported to the CDC in the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care (LTC) Program nearly tripled in the first two weeks of February, from 641,561 on January 31 to 1,711,846 on February 16.

This continuing decline in U.S. cases along with the increase in vaccine supply and administration spark hope and suggest that new coronavirus cases in skilled nursing facilities are likely to continue trending lower in the next two reporting weeks ending Feb 7 and Feb 14.

NIC Skilled Nursing COVID-19 Tracker as of Jan 31 2021-1

 

The Skilled Nursing COVID-19 Tracker also shows that the share of properties reporting new COVID-19 infections fell from 34.5% on December 20 to 24.4% on January 24. Additionally, newly confirmed cases among staff are declining at the same pace as the new cases among residents.

“The drop in new cases is becoming evident in CMS data since vaccines have been administered and distributed in skilled nursing properties. While data suggest that we are entering the beginning of the end of this pandemic, it is still important to realize that we need vaccinations in combination with other interventions, including more frequent testing, greater emphasis on physical distancing, and adherence to masking guidelines. These interventions continue to be an effective and vital weapon against the rate of mutation of the virus and the spread of current virus strain until vaccines are widely accepted and distributed and herd immunity is achieved,” said NIC Chief Economist, Beth Mace.

 

* Blog and graph updated as of February 19, 2021

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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