WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Department of Public Health ordered for 69 Greentree Manor residents to be evacuated from the Waterford nursing facility after the site began renovations that weren’t previously approved, officials announced Friday.
State officials were at the facility through the night. Residents had been evacuated by early Friday morning.
The order came after the state learned that the facility had started renovating the South Center and North Center without giving the advance notice required by law.
“DPH has determined that the condition of both units poses an imminent danger to the health, safety and welfare of the residents there, and all work has been halted,” Commissioner Manisha Juthani said in the written announcement.
According to state officials, Greentree Manor had removed the floors in the north and south centers, along with the South Shore Nursing Unit, without testing it for asbestos. The Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a finding of immediate jeopardy for the site.
Greentree Manor issued the following statement to News 8:
Yesterday, as part of a renovation of Greentree Manor, we uncovered tiles that might have been asbestos in our North Wing. While the areas of concern were only in the North wing, we temporarily moved 69 residents from both the North and South Wings to other local nursing homes out of an abundance of caution. There is no evidence of asbestos in the South Wing. We are waiting for the results of the tests on the North Wing and will make those results public when we have them. Until then, no residents will return to Greentree Manor.
We are working with the DPH and keeping them informed. The families of those residents who were temporarily relocated yesterday were informed before they were moved and we will update them as soon as we have the results about our North Wing.
The health and safety of our residents is always our top priority.
The facility must take 10 other steps outlined by the state, which include covering concrete floors, closing doors, setting up a temporary satellite nursing station, providing residents notice, conducting asbestos testing, and stopping new admissions.
Nayra Martinez said that her grandmother, Ada, was suddenly moved because of the concerns. Martinez said Ada was left to sit in a van for hours without food or medication.
“Your first reaction is ‘I’m angry, I’m very upset’ — that this is a situation that anyone should have to endure, not just my mother, but every other resident in that building, you know,” Martinez said. “At least my grandmother has a voice. I can speak for her. I’m her advocate. I’m going to call the things I see as they need to be called. It’s more frustrating, the chaos that was created.”