NIC Notes

Insights in Seniors Housing & Care

By: Omar Zahraoui  |  March 16, 2021

Visitation Restrictions Ease at Nursing Homes as Vaccinations Rise and COVID-19 Cases Fall

COVID-19  |  Skilled Nursing  |  Skilled Nursing Tracker

As vaccinations rise and COVID-19 case counts fall in skilled nursing facilities, CMS has revised its guidelines for nursing home visits. Effective on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, nursing homes are allowing residents and their loved ones to finally reunite, hug and hold hands after one year of isolation and psychological burden. This is a long-awaited relief for both residents and loved ones.

That said, CMS continues to “recommend facilities, residents, and families adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection control, including maintaining physical distancing and conducting visits outdoors whenever possible. This continues to be the safest way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, particularly if either party has not been fully vaccinated.”

On March 11, 2021, when the CDC eased virus restrictions on visitation at skilled nursing facilities, the status of vaccination clinics shows that most skilled nursing facilities participating in the CVS program had completed their clinics. Vaccinations for assisted living and other long-term care facilities were relatively behind.

Data from CVS show that 2,220,499 vaccines have been administered across 7,822 skilled nursing facilities. About the same number of vaccines have been administered for assisted living and other long-term care but across a larger number of properties—37,958 properties. Exhibits 1 and 2 below show that some states started vaccinating assisted living residents nearly two months after nursing homes’ activation date, which partly explains the difference.

The status of clinics from Walgreens (Exhibit 2) also shows that 90% of skilled nursing facilities have completed their third clinic, while only 28% of assisted living and long-term care facilities have completed their third clinic thus far. Notably, 22 geographies have completed their third clinic for nursing homes vs. two geographies for assisted living and other long-term care settings.

Exhibits 1 and 2 below provide summary stats of vaccination efforts and completion status of activated geographies across skilled nursing facilities vs. assisted living and other long-term care facilities participating in the CVS and Walgreens vaccination programs. These tallies have been created by NIC Analytics. See Exhibits 3 and 4 at the end of this blog for more details.

Exhibit 1: CVS Vaccination Results in Long-term Care Facilities

CVS - Exhibit 1

Exhibit 2: Walgreens Vaccination Results in Long-term Care Facilities

Walgreens - Exhibit 2

Separately, there continue to be promising signs that the coronavirus has turned the corner in skilled nursing facilities. NIC’s Skilled Nursing COVID-19 Tracker shows that newly confirmed cases among residents continued to fall and reached a new pandemic record low of only 0.15%, equivalent to 15 in 10,000 residents tested positive for COVID-19 on February 28 compared to over 300 in 10,000 residents on December 20 (3.03%). And it’s likely that seniors housing, particularly assisted living and other long-term care facilities, are also in the path of curbing COVID-19 since both seniors housing residents and skilled nursing patients were both given high vaccination priority.

In summary, although vaccinations efforts across assisted living and other long-term care facilities are relatively behind those at skilled nursing facilities, given the pace at which vaccines are being administered, seniors housing residents are likely to see fewer visitation restrictions in the coming weeks.

Exhibit 3: CVS vaccination efforts – Data as of March 11, 2021


Exhibit 4: Walgreens vaccination efforts – Data as of March 9, 2021


About Omar Zahraoui

Omar Zahraoui, Principal 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, Zahraoui 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. Zahraoui 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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