Crestview Care Center in Milford is all but closed, with no residents remaining at the center as of Oct. 9.
In Utica, six residents were still living at the Azria Health Utica care center as of Oct. 7, with three more expected to move this week.
Jonathan Jank, president of the Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership, gave an update on the closures at a Milford Chamber of Commerce meeting Oct. 10.
“It was really a gut-punch for us as a community, as a county,” Jank said.
The care centers were bought in mid-September by Azria Health, which announced Sept. 23 that it would close four Nebraska nursing facilities on Nov. 21, displacing about 240 employees and just over 200 residents in Milford, Utica, Blue Hill and Columbus.
That closing date, though, may come more than a month sooner if the centers are no longer housing residents.
“It went much more quickly than we ever expected,” Jank said, adding that only management is left working at Crestview.
No residents to care for means no work for cooks, nursing aides, housekeeping staff or others, whose hours have been cut or positions eliminated.
The Milford facility had 54 beds, and the Utica facility had 41.
The SCCDP and the Nebraska Department of Labor will host a job fair for displaced employees and the general public from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17, in the Welsch Center Gym on the Southeast Community College campus in Milford.
A similar job fair was held in Utica last week.
The SCCDP is working with the NDOL’s Rapid Response Team to assist those affected by the closures.
“If you know someone affected by the closures, please have them contact us so we can get them the resources to help them transition to their next career opportunity,” Jank said.
The SCCDP office may be reached at (402) 643-4189. It is located at 616 Bradford Street in Seward.
After the job fair, Jank said the SCCDP will flip on its “dream switch” to figure out what could happen with the Crestview building. He said Azria Health is open to selling or leasing the 17,000-square-foot building.
Jank invited the Chamber and community to brainstorm ideas of what the building could become.
“This is an ‘us’ issue we’re working on, and an ‘us’ opportunity, as well,” he said. “If you can get local control, that helps control your destiny.”