Senior living operators need “urgent financial resources” to fight the coronavirus pandemic, a bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives told Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Thursday.

“The costs of caring for those most at risk of infection cannot be overstated, and current financial losses are simply not sustainable,” the 19 members of Congress wrote in a letter, noting that such losses in senior living currently are estimated at $15 billion.

“Unlike other providers, whose losses were felt in the earlier days of this pandemic (due to loss of elective procedures), the senior living industry is suffering its most significant losses now and these losses will only be compounded in the future,” they said, noting that the effects are due to a “sharp decline in occupancy rate.”

“Many providers are reporting declines in admissions of 75% compared to the same period in 2019. In fact, assisted living occupancy fell to a record low in the second quarter of 2020,” the letter said.

Operators need money to obtain COVID-19 tests, personal protective equipment and staff members to effectively implement testing, the members of Congress wrote. “We urge you to allocate unused Provider Relief Fund monies, immediately, to provide assisted living communities with much needed support,” they said.

Signing the letter were Reps. Dan Bishop (R-NC), Tom Cole (R-OK), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), David Kustoff (R-TN), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (D-Guam), John Rose (R-TN), Abigail D. Spanberger (D-VA), Pete Stauber (R-MN), Greg Steube (R-FL), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Tom Tiffany (R-WI), Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Bruce Westerman (R-AR).

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