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Nursing Home Employees Claim Mold Made Them Sick

LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) - Employees from a nursing home have taken legal action after claiming mold at the facility made them sick.

A lawyer for several of the employees gave CBS4 documents from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's investigation. The lawyer says the documents prove mold has been found in the facility.

Tammy Stewart said she became sick just a few weeks after starting work at the Sierra Vista Health Care Center.

"I started feeling sick as far as bronchitis, a chest cold I just couldn't get rid of," Stewart said.

It was the same case for an employee who didn't want to be identified.

"It's a sharp piercing pain in my sinus. When I blow my nose dark blood comes out," the woman said.

They had no idea what caused it until they say they saw mold creeping down from the ceiling.

"Then they finally took the residents out of that room and took the ceiling down," Stewart said. "To me it looks like something you'd see on sci-fi, like something in a horror film."

Stewart said Sierra Vista initially did nothing.

"The facility is telling staff that if family asks, to tell them they're doing construction, not to tell the family about the mold. And I believe family needs to know about the mold," Stewart said.

"If my family member was in that facility I would be very concerned," Stewart's attorney Darby Hoggatt said.

Hoggatt said a report given to him be the state health department shows there is in fact mold in the facility. But the officials from the health department told CBS4 the mold doesn't constitute a public health risk.

In the meantime Sierra Vista has remained open.

"I'm concerned that ... how do you ever completely get rid of mold? You not only have to get rid of the mold, but fix what caused the mold," Hoggatt said.

Sierra Vista says they've hired experts to come in and fix the mold problem. Stewart and several others have filed workers' compensation claims.

Statement To CBS4 From Sierra Vista Health Care Center

Sierra Vista takes this situation seriously. Division team members had air tests done at the facility and the samples indicated that there was a mold-like substance in certain areas. The facility engaged an industrial hygienist and certified contractors who are in the process of assisting us with remediation. We have followed all of the instructions of the experts to this point. Residents in the areas identified were immediately moved. We have not had any residents demonstrate signs and symptoms related to exposure to this substance.

Annaliese Impink
Spokesperson for Sierra Vista

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