U.S. stocks closed higher Thursday after central banks around the world rolled out several emergency measures designed to lessen the economic fallout stemming from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Between Wednesday and Thursday, the Federal Reserve launched a new lending facility to backstop U.S. money-market mutual funds and extended its currency exchange program with other central banks, and the Bank of England lowered its benchmark interest rate to a record low, according to Wall Street Journal reports.
Despite the one-day uptick, the nation’s economy has entered a recession, and the coronavirus largely is to blame, claimed National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care Chief Economist Beth Burnham Mace Thursday, during a presentation at the McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Spring Online Expo. She added that she expects the recession to continue through the second quarter of this year.
“The full impact of coronavirus-related damage will take a while to sort out,” she told attendees.
Across the nation, senior living providers and healthcare real estate investment trusts continue to provide updates on how their facilities are dealing with the virus and its effects on occupancy rates.
Late Wednesday, Sabra Health Care REIT reported that the company now has two facilities, one each with two different operators in its portfolio, with positive COVID-19 tests. Both facilities have stopped admissions and are following local public health protocols regarding quarantine and staff screening, according to the company. The REIT also reported that it has not, to date, seen a material reduction in occupancy but noted that most operators have stopped physical tours to limit access to essential visitors only.
“We are monitoring the situation, keeping abreast of updates from the CDC and are in regular contact with our operators,” said Michael Costa, Sabra’s executive vice president of finance. “The situation is evolving quickly, and it is too soon to predict what type of impact this will have on Sabra financially. Our balance sheet is the strongest it has ever been, and we have almost $1 billion in available liquidity, which will help us weather this storm.”
National Health Investors also reported Wednesday that the firm is unaware of any positive COVID-19 tests across its 238-community senior housing and skilled nursing portfolio. Thirty-four of the firm’s senior housing communities and four skilled nursing facilities, however, have reported that they have self-quarantined residents or patients with testing for the virus in-process, or the facilities are located in counties or adjacent to counties that have more than 100 confirmed cases.
In a Thursday press release from Legacy Senior Living, the operator of 14 assisted living facilities throughout the Southeast also reported zero confirmed cases of COVID-19. But the firm said it has canceled its annual leadership meeting and reallocated funding toward extra supplies and backup staffing.
“No expense will be spared to accommodate our residents’ needs and fulfill our mission to the best of our ability,” said Bryan Cook, co-founder and president of Legacy Senior Living. “We have prepared significant medical, food and water supplies ready for disbursement in case of a facility outbreak. We have on-site leadership ready to physically support our communities as needed.”