men carrying moving boxes

Independent living occupancy levels were the least affected by COVID-19 in late June and early July, and skilled nursing occupancy levels were the most affected, according to the results of a new survey.

Executives at approximately 240 providers, primarily not-for-profit life plan communities, responded to the latest Ziegler CFO Hotline poll between June 29 and July 7. Two-thirds of the providers were single-site organizations.

Median occupancy in independent living during this time period was 93%, according to survey participants. By comparison, median occupancy was 88% in assisted living and memory care and 77% in skilled nursing.

“While there are some minor variations across regions, the occupancy by level of care is fairly consistent,” according to the specialty investment bank, which noted that occupancy decreased as residents’ care and service needs increased.

The biggest regional fluctuations in median occupancy were in assisted living and skilled nursing. In assisted living, occupancy was highest in the Midwest and South, at 90%, and lowest in the Northeast, at 84%. Skilled nursing occupancy was highest in the Midwest, at 80%, and was 76% in all other regions.

Among all levels of care, independent living operators also were most likely to report sales/admissions increases in June compared with March, April and May (35.5%), whereas skilled nursing providers were most likely to report sales/admissions decreases for this time period (37.9%).

Overall, the percentage of senior living and care operators with current COVID-19 cases was highest in the South, at 55%, and lowest in the West, at 38%, according to survey results. The percentage of communities where all residents or staff with COVID-19 had recovered was highest in the Northeast, at 40%, and lowest in the South and West, at 36% each. The percentage of communities that have had no COVID-19 cases was highest in the West, at 26%, and lowest in the South, at 9%.

See the full survey results here.