The state of Connecticut ordered the evacuation of 69 people from a nursing and rehabilitation center in Waterford on Thursday.
On Friday, the Connecticut Department of Public Health provided new details on what led to the evacuation.
Families found out there are potential asbestos concerns in the facility.
“I am very upset, very upset that this had to get to this level,” said Nayra Martinez of Griswold.
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Martinez was worried about her 93-year-old grandmother Aida as nearly 70 residents were suddenly moved out of Greentree Manor in Waterford amid possible asbestos concerns.
“There is chaos at the front desk right now. They are calling people’s families. A lot of residents are sitting at the front area,” Martinez said.
In a statement made on Thursday to NBC Connecticut, the nursing and rehabilitation center wrote in part:
“This morning as part of a renovation of an isolated wing of Greentree Manor, we uncovered tiles that may, potentially, be asbestos.”
In response, the state Department of Public Health says it “verbally ordered the evacuation of a number of residents” and that it had staff on site monitoring the transfers.
On Friday, DPH provided an update on the situation, saying that a "safe transfer of the residents" was completed early that morning.
The center says it has informed families of those being relocated to area nursing homes out of what it says was an abundance of caution.
It adds, “The health and safety of our residents is always our top priority.”
“Right now, my number one concern is to make sure my grandmother gets the help that she needs, and everyone else in that place,” Martinez said.
Martinez doesn’t believe the communication about what’s been happening has been clear and while she was initially told her grandmother was being moved to another part of the facility, instead she’s going to stay at a place in Mystic.
“For the three days she’s going there, according to them, it’s going to give me some satisfaction but it’s the return here, whether I want her to return here or not, that is the big question,” Martinez said.
Greentree says it sent samples to a lab to confirm if it was asbestos.
The DPH statement on Friday says that renovations were being made to Greentree Manor's South Center and North Center Nursing Units, but the facility failed to follow state regulations to inform the state of the work.
The department said that since the removed flooring was not tested for asbestos prior to removal, evacuation was needed for the safety of those living in the facility. DPH says "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.”
In addition to ordering an evacuation of the facility, the DPH commissioner ordered Greentree Manor to complete other tasks including covering the entire concrete floor of the South Center Nursing Unit, setting up a temporary nurse station, conducting asbestos testing of all flooring materials and halting new admissions.
DPH says the facility cannot resume renovations until a formal work plan is submitted to, and approved by, their office.