Senior living communities saw a 41% decrease in inquiries, a 27% decrease in initial tours and a 22% decrease in move-ins in April based on year-over-year averages, according to a new report from Denver-based Enquire. The customer relationship management, marketing automation and contact center solution provider aggregated actual sales and marketing data from more than 2,200 communities to provide insights into the effects of COVID-19 on the industry.

But across all levels of care — the report has data on communities offering independent living only, independent and assisted living, assisted living, assisted living and memory care, and also stand-alone memory care communities — communities have seen a decline in move-outs, averaging a 15% decrease year-to-date compared with the same period in 2019.

Communities offering both independent living and assisted living saw the biggest year-over-year change in inquiries, a 51% difference between April 2019 and April 2020.

Initial tours for communities decreased in March and April, but many communities are offering virtual tours, so year-to-date averages remain strong, Enquire said.

Through April, the South Central region appeared to be the least affected by the coronavirus, according to the data, with typical decreases across the board compared with other regions.

In other coronavirus-related news:

  • One day after he said the White House Coronavirus Task Force was disbanding, President Trump reserved course Wednesday morning, tweeting that the task force “will continue on indefinitely,” although its membership may change. Later, at a National Nurses Day event, he said, “I thought we could wind it down sooner. But I had no idea how popular the task force is until actually yesterday.” The task force “will be around until we feel it’s not necessary,” the president said.
  • AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine said in a statement released Wednesday that the decision to reopen assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities “must be made with great caution and on an individual basis, regardless of the status of the surrounding community.” Such facilities should be the last ones to open to visitors and vendors, because they house a vulnerable population and may not have reliable testing and a consistent supply of personal protective equipment, the organization said. “Medical directors, executive directors and directors of nursing, along with their regional leadership, should work in collaboration with their local health departments and hospital systems to determine the appropriate time to reopen their nursing homes and assisted living communities to visitors, to relax social distancing policies and personal protective equipment requirements,” AMDA advised.
  • Assisted living operators should continue to follow their state’s specific requirements for reporting COVID-19 cases, according to the National Center for Assisted Living. Nursing homes are required to use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network reporting module, but reporting there for assisted living communities is optional.
  • Bonita Springs, FL-based Discovery Senior Living, which owns and operates 62 upscale senior living communities in 14 states, is rolling out a national program of targeted COVID-19 testing of current and incoming residents as well as employees, the company announced. The voluntary testing began in Florida and will be conducted using an ongoing random sampling program at no cost to participants.
  • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday directed the state Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard to test all residents and staff members of assisted living and residential care communities for COVID-19. April 20, West Virginia became the first state to require COVID-19 testing of all nursing home residents and staff in the state, according to the governor’s office. “We knew as soon as we finished testing our nursing homes we would go to mandatory testing of our assisted living facilities and our residential care communities,” Justice said Wednesday in a statement. “We absolutely need to do everything in our power to keep our most vulnerable populations as safe as possible.”
  • Senior living residents and caregivers “need more support, both emotional and financial,” United Methodist Communities CEO Lawrence Carlson wrote in The Press of Atlantic City. “Senior living is portrayed as a failure in the media, yet people with COVID-19 are sick and dying elsewhere with those organizations and staff getting support and understanding. Why is senior living vilified? …The resources needed to do our job are in short supply, yet we excel anyway.”
  • As of April 30, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had approved Section 1915(c) Appendix K authority in 182 waivers across 37 states for the delivery of home- and community-based services, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Overall, however, “states’ use of Appendix K to temporarily adopt HCBS policies to respond to the COVID-19 emergency is limited, due to state budget constraints,” according to the author.