Officials don’t know what caused illnesses that befell over 70 people
The State Department of Health and Senior Services has given the green light to reopen the Monmouth County Courthouse which was closed last week due to over 70 people falling ill.
Laura Kirkpatrick, Public Information Officer, told MMM that normal court operations will resume on Tuesday, June 26 at 1:30PM. State and county employees should report to work as instructed by their supervisors.
The announcement from the State Department of Health said that the Courthouse indoor air tested within normal ranges for chemical and environmental contaminants. However the announcement did not disclose the cause of the illnesses that occurred on Friday June 15th and again on Monday June 18th.
Donna Leusner, Director of Communications for the department said that “we don’t know the definitive cause at this time.”Posted: June 25th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court | Tags: Laura Krikpatrick, Monmouth County Courthouse | 2 Comments »
Freeholder Director John Curley said that tests performed by the County Department of Health have not determined the cause of the illnesses that befell employees and visitors at the Monmouth County Courthouse last Friday and again on Monday.
The Courthouse will remain closed until at least Monday while the State Department of Health conducts its own tests starting tomorrow and through the weekend if necessary.
“Our people have come up with nothing,” said Curley, “the State really should have stepped in right away. It’s a shame to spend all this money on a duplicate effort.”Posted: June 20th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Monmouth County | Tags: Freeholder Director John Curley, John Curley, Monmouth County Courthouse | 1 Comment »
Further testing to be conducted for cause of illness
FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Courthouse will remain closed tomorrow for additional testing of allergens – substances derived from plants, animals or items that can be found on people’s desks. Once the testing is complete, the courthouse will be cleaned again.
“All the tests so far have ruled out the most probable causes for the symptoms that were reported by employees and other individuals with business at the courthouse,” said William K. Heine, director of Public Information for the county. “We have ruled out possible causes that could be related to housekeeping, construction and general building maintenance.”
Tuesday night, the courthouse was tested for the presence of dust, pollen and mold on carpeting, chair fabric, desk surfaces and underneath desks. Nothing out of the ordinary was found. Levels of dust, mold and pollen were lower inside the building than outside the building.
To date, the county has checked the construction area of the courthouse’s East Wing and found nothing that would contribute to the symptoms of illness reported by the employees. Likewise, the heating and ventilation systems have been checked for leaks and none were found. The air filters in entire building were changed over the weekend and again on Tuesday. The county has also determined that there has been no change in the regular cleaning of the building.
“The county continues to work with the state Judiciary to resolve this issue,” Heine said.
On Monday, more than 60 courthouse employees reported symptoms of illness that included shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations, rash and dizziness. A triage and treatment area was established outside of the courthouse where all individuals with symptoms were properly evaluated by emergency medical professionals. Thirty people were taken to area hospitals with symptoms that included rash or hives, elevated blood pressure and difficulty breathing.
After the courthouse was closed at 1 p.m. on Monday, the State Police Hazardous Materials Unit tested the building’s interior for 25,000 different compounds and found nothing that would have contributed to the reported symptoms of illness.
The situation developed on Friday when 17 courthouse employees reported the same general symptoms of illness. Several individuals were confirmed to be diagnosed with allergic reactions. The affected area of the courthouse was thoroughly cleaned last weekend.
“If a courthouse employee or anyone having business at the courthouse is experiencing any of the symptoms, we encourage them to go to the emergency room or their private physician,” Heine said. “We also ask that they contact the county health department at 732-431-7456 to report any symptoms.”
It is believed that there is no danger of person-to-person transmission. Anyone who was inside the courthouse since Friday should launder the clothes that they wore separately from other items. Individuals should also shower with soap and water as well.
Posted: June 20th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Monmouth County, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, Press Release | Tags: Monmouth County Courthouse, Press Release, William Heine | Comments Off on Monmouth County Courthouse to remain closed Wednesday
Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden told MMM that the Courthouse will remain closed on Wednesday, June 20. Golden said that tests for over 3000 possible airborne contaminants came back negative. Additional test are being performed.
Freeholder Director John Curley told MMM that all tests performed today to find the what caused 77 people to fall sick at the Monmouth County Courthouse yesterday have come up negative.
Curley said the officials conducting the tests are now taking a second look at the possibility that the cut flowers that were suspected of causing the sicknesses on Friday may also have been the source of the problem on Monday.
No announcement has been made regarding the courthouse opening or remaining closed tomorrow.Posted: June 19th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Monmouth County | Tags: Contamination at Courthouse, Freeholder Director John Curley, John Curley, Monmouth County Courthouse | 1 Comment »
Monmouth County officials remain stumped about what caused the reported sicknesses at the courthouse on Friday and again yesterday. The courthouse is closed today as testing for the source contaminant continues.
Freeholder Director John Curley told MMM that he received a report at 8am this morning indicating the facility had been tested for chemical contaminants overnight. The test came back negative. Curley said the facility is being swept for mold and pollen today.
Sheriff Shaun Golden said that all systems have been checked and rechecked and that environmental testing is being conducted today.
A message on the Court’s website states that General Equity at the Hall of Records and the Probation offices at Mechanic Street, Freehold and in Ocean Township are open today.
Bail can be posted at the Monmouth County Jail. Temporary restraining orders will be handled by the local police.
Child support payments can be mailed to NJFSPC, PO Box 4880, Trenton, NJ 08650-4880 or dropped off at the 30 Mechanic Street, Freehold office. Probation payments will also be received at Mechanic Street.Posted: June 19th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Monmouth County | Tags: Freeholder Director John Curley, John Curley, Monmouth County Courthouse, Monmouth County Sheriff, Shaune Golden, Sheriff Shaun Golden | 4 Comments »