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Hunt Valley-based Omega Healthcare reports 57 coronavirus cases in its nursing homes

Omega Healthcare Investors, a Hunt Valley-based real estate investment trust focused on elder care facilities, said it has at least 57 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in its nursing homes in 14 states and the United Kingdom.

The cases, none in Maryland, have involved 42 residents and 15 employees in 28 facilities, all but one of which are skilled nursing homes, Omega said in an update on the impact of COVID-19 on its business. Omega owns the properties, 964 facilities in 40 states and the U.K., and leases them to operators.

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Omega did not identify the facilities or states in which residents and employees have tested positive for the virus. The company’s website shows it owns 12 facilities in Maryland, and a spokesman said none of the reported cases were at those homes.

Many of its operators have seen significant cost increases stemming from higher overtime and bonus pay and an increase in the cost and use of personal protective equipment and supplies.

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“We continue to closely monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operators and to support their efforts to manage this unprecedented challenge,” Omega CEO Taylor Pickett said in a statement.

He said expanded Medicaid reimbursements, part of federal and state relief, will offer “meaningful support” to the facilities. The company also expects that recently announced government relief could offset the sharp increase in costs.

“We remain in frequent contact with our operators, and believe they are working tirelessly to implement appropriate protocols, in line with [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] guidelines, to limit exposure and spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Pickett said.

Those protocols include use of daily screenings and isolation techniques.

The real estate investment trust, which invests in both skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, said it has not seen any material change in the financial performance of its business. The company plans to update its guidance when it releases first-quarter financial results. Earnings guidance for the year does not include the potential impact of the pandemic.

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