Monmouth County Courthouse To Stay Closed Tuesday
The Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold will remain closed on Tuesday as tests continue on what caused it to be evacuated for the second time in two business days due to people having difficulty breathing.
“For the safety and well-being of employees and individuals with business at the courthouse, the county is cooperating with the State Judiciary to close the building,” Kevin Burke, Assistant County Administrator said.
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The county public information office in a press release said the New Jersey State Police Hazardous Materials Unit will continue tests in an attempt to further identify the cause related to the illnesses.
Testing for volatile chemical compounds returned negative results. “Tonight the building will be tested for mold, dust and pollen,” read the statement.
The HazMat team has ruled out cut flowers as the cause of Friday’s evacuation.
Some people that came to work today complained of the same issues that were reported Friday, “so they closed the courthouse around 1 o’clock as a precautionary measure,” says Bill Hein, public information officer for Monmouth County.
Trials and hearings were being rescheduled.
Rich Mackefy, Vice President of Public Relations at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold confirmed that 25 people have been brought to a decontamination tent outside the hospital for treatment of symptoms similar those from Friday’s evacuation including shortness of breath, nausea, chest pain, palpitations, rash and dizziness. The County raised the number of people treated to 50.
Mackefy says “they don’t know” at this point what is causing the problem. They are evaluating each patient and then bringing them into the hospital’s main emergency room.
A long orange chute has been attached to a third floor window near the east wing of the building, where the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office was once located reports the Star Ledger. Several windows in the area had been boarded up.
Multiple postings to the Facebook page Jersey Shore Hurricane News report similar symptoms to Friday’s evacuation which was attributed to cut flowers in the courthouse. The county has confirmed that several individuals on Friday were diagnosed with an allergic reaction.
Following Friday’s evacuation of 17 people, county officials said the courthouse would be “thoroughly cleaned” over the weekend and open for business today.
The county believes that there is no danger of person-to-person transmission and recommends that employees and anyone who was at the courthouse on Monday launder the clothes that they wore separately from other items. Individuals should also shower with soap and water as well.