Occupancy rates were on the rise for skilled nursing facilities for the past few months. This was exciting for the long-term care industry that had been struggling with census numbers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care (NIC) reported in August that occupancy rates had increased for the fourth month in a row to 73.4%.
However, McKnight’s now reports that reports that occupancy rates have recently decreased. This was announced by NIC for data collected for the months of August and September.
The survey conducted by NIC gathered data from 40% of nursing homes and senior housing facilities. Out of those who reported census numbers, 20% of the operators reported a decrease of 3 percentage points or more.
Lana Peck, NIC Senior Principal, believes the decrease could be a result of COVID-19 delta variant. She also stated vaccinations may help reverse the pattern again, “whether or not the pattern of declining occupancy rates will continue to trend is uncertain until the delta variant spread is muted by increasing vaccinations and natural immunity from prior infection.”