LTC Properties said the occupancy rate for its skilled nursing operators slipped following the coronavirus pandemic. 

The real estate investment trust reported that its skilled nursing average monthly occupancy fell from 78% in March to 75% in April. It disclosed the data during a first quarter earnings call Monday morning. For December 2019, the REIT said its skilled occupancy was 79%. 

The drop was also noticeable in its private-pay senior living occupancy, which decreased from 86%, to 83%, to 80%, respectively, in December, March and April. 

“The decline in both private pay and skilled nursing occupancy is not surprising given current industry trends,” Clint Malin, LTC Properties executive vice president and chief investment officer, said. 

Malin noted, however, that the federal government has several financial relief programs that may help its operating partners during the pandemic, like the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Operators are also seeing rising costs for personal protective equipment, sanitation supplies and workforce during the pandemic, REIT executives said.

“We believe 2020 2Q will be even more challenging for our operators than Q1 due to the larger impact of costs related to PPE, cleaning and sanitizing, and payroll, coupled with the financial impact related to reduced admissions and reduced revenue. We are closely watching several financial relief programs that could possibly provide assistance to some or all of our partners,” LTC Properties Chairman, CEO and President Wendy Simpson said. 

In other news, LTC Properties announced that the sale of its skilled nursing portfolio with Preferred Care has been finalized. The portfolio included 21 skilled nursing facilities with a combined 2,411 beds in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and Texas. Net proceeds from the sale were $71.9 million, while its gain on the sale was $43.9 million.

For more on this earnings call, see our sister publication, McKnight’s Senior Living.