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‘We’re devastated’: Families of residents react to Norwich nursing home shutdown as transfers to other facilities get underway

New London

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– People are now being moved out of Three Rivers Health Care in Norwich. That process started Thursday. A temporary manager was assigned to the home but didn’t think the problems could be fixed by the September 30 deadline.

‘We love our residents.’ That message was posted by staff on a sign on the front lawn of the Three Rivers nursing home which has been ordered shut down by the state. Other signs shared messages of support for staff who are now getting the first of the residents ready to be transferred out.

Related: DPH: All residents to be transferred from Three Rivers nursing home following investigation into COVID-19 outbreak

Several staff members gathered outside to applaud a resident leaving the Three Rivers nursing home. His belongings were then loaded into the ambulance transporting him to another facility. 

The state ordered patients be removed and Three Rivers closed after a COVID-19 outbreak which infected 22 residents and six staff, taking the lives of four residents since late July. 

Bill Alvarez has been trying to get his wife Noelle out of the facility since January after they were married while she was there.

“I’m afraid of her becoming infected as well,” said Alvarez.

His wife’s sister, Meliss Swanson, who is her conservator says requests to move her had been met with resistance. But she hopes now Noelle who had suffered a stroke can come home to her husband.

“It appears as though that is the perfect time for that to occur,” said Swanson.

Alvarez plans to help his wife along with a visiting nurse.

“My apartment’s all set up for handicap,” said Alvarez.

Many of the residents will go to other Norwich area nursing homes.

In addition to the 29 residents who have tested negative for COVID-19 and are being transferred out, the state says there are currently 17 residents who have tested positive and seven others who are under observation. 

The COVID positive patients will be transferred to a facility in East Hartford until they recover.

‘We’re devastated,” said Amy Wetherby, as she wiped away tears.

Her grandmother Gloria Trombley was one of the four residents who died of COVID-19.

“I don’t even know if it was a guy or girl who went there and had COVID-19 and they reported to work sick,” said Wetherby. “If that hadn’t have happened she probably would still be here.” 

The state is hopping to have all the residents transferred out by the end of the week.

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