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Insights in Seniors Housing & Care

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By: Omar Zahraoui  |  May 25, 2022

Skilled Nursing Sees Rising COVID-19 Cases; Staffing Shortages Persist

COVID-19  |  Skilled Nursing  |  Skilled Nursing Tracker  |  Workforce

NIC's Skilled Nursing COVID-19 Tracker, featuring the most up-to-date CMS data,* shows that rates of new COVID-19 infections in skilled nursing facilities are rising once again for both residents and staff.

The per-resident rate of new COVID-19 infections increased to 0.50% (50 in 10,000 residents tested positive) for the week ending May 8, 2022, up 0.08 percentage points from May 1 (0.41%) and 0.40 percentage points from just a month earlier (the recent low of 0.10% reported on April 3). Roughly 10% of skilled nursing facilities reported newly confirmed cases among residents on May 8.

Regionally, skilled nursing facilities in the Northeast region reported the highest per-resident rate of new COVID-19 infections at 1.02% (up 0.16pps from May 1 and 0.87pps from April 3), followed by the Midwest (0.42% - up 0.1pps from May 1 and 0.33pps from April 3), the West (0.32% - down 0.06pps from May 1 but up 0.17pps from April 3), then the South (0.25% - up 0.07pps from May 1 and 0.20pps from April 3).

Other highlights from the latest data are noted below.

  • Virus cases among staff increased by 13% for the week ending May 8, 2022 — from approximately 4,800 cases on May 1, 2022, to nearly 5,500 new cases on May 8, 2022.

  • Weekly cases among residents rose by 16% over the same period, from 4,500 cases on May 1, 2022, to 5,300 new cases on May 8, 2022.

2022 NIC Notes Blog May Skilled Nursing Tracker Graph1

  • According to CDC data, U.S. weekly COVID-19 cases among the general population increased by 21%, from 411,000 cases on May 1 to 496,200 on May 8. Weekly cases among the general population increased further by 45% from May 8 to May 22, to 719,400 new cases.

  • 71% of residents within skilled nursing facilities have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine booster as of May 8, 2022 and. 46.2% of staff have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster.

  • Fatalities as percent of skilled nursing facility residents stood at 0.01% on May 8.

  • Staffing shortages persist. Over 25% of skilled nursing facilities reported shortages of aides, 24% reported shortages of nursing staff, and 14% reported shortages of other staff according to the May 8, 2022 data reported by CMS.
The high caseload recorded in January 2022 exacerbated staffing shortages due to sickness-related absenteeism among skilled nursing facility workers. However, since January 2022, staffing shortages started to alleviate, and the decline in facilities reporting shortages of nursing staff is likely due to the fast retreat of Omicron and the reduced level of illness among nursing staff. It is still difficult to say whether the industry is in recovery from its pandemic shortage, especially while rates of new COVID-19 infections in the country and within skilled nursing facilities are rising once again.

2022 NIC Notes Blog May Skilled Nursing Tracker Graph2
NIC’s Skilled Nursing COVID-19 Tracker shows the week-over-week change rate for new resident cases of COVID-19 within skilled nursing facilities on a per-facility basis, by geography. The data is displayed in an easy-to-use interactive dashboard that allows sorts down to the county level. The Tracker and Supplemental Data provide an indicator on the rate of virus spread within skilled nursing communities by geographic location, offering a way to better understand where and why cases are spreading, slowing, or remaining flat. Historical data are available back to June 2020.

Visit the NIC Skilled Nursing COVID-19 Tracker for details and the latest data.

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*Data referenced in this blog are based on Skilled Nursing COVID-19 Tracker reports updated and published with the CMS data (cases in skilled nursing facilities) as of May 8, 2022, and CDC data (U.S. cases) as of May 22, 2022.

About Omar Zahraoui

Omar Zahraoui, Senior 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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