The directors of one of the UK’s largest care home operators have warned that the company may go under as occupancy levels plummet in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a note attached to the group’s 2019 accounts, the board say high numbers of residents dying from the virus casts “significant doubt on the group’s … ability to continue as a going concern.”

“The directors consider the specific downside scenario impact of Covid-19 on the group’s occupancy levels and cash flows to be so significant that it represents a material uncertainty,” they say.

The Guardian newspaper reports that HC-One bosses have written to councils asking that they continue paying them at 90% occupancy rates although actual rates have dropped below 70%

HC-One has had 637 resident deaths and three care worker deaths due toCovid-19 among its 328 homes and almost 20,000 residents.