Building will remain closed for the remainder of the week 

FREEHOLD, NJ – The state Department of Health and Senior Services will conduct prolonged air quality tests at the Monmouth County Courthouse on Thursday into Friday, which will require the building to remain closed at least through the weekend.

Testing that was conducted Tuesday night for common allergens – substances derived from plants or animals – turned up nothing out of the ordinary.

These and other tests were conducted after dozens of courthouse workers, all of whom are state employees, complained on Friday and again on Monday of shortness of breath, a skin rash, or in some cases elevated blood pressure. State health officials believe the cause is environmental.

All previous testing proved negative, including those for volatile compounds and such things as dust, mold or pollen. Previous air tests were short-term screenings, whereas the state now plans to collect air samples over a prolonged 24-hour period beginning sometime on Thursday.

“The safety, health and well-being of the employees and those who visit the courthouse are our top concern,” County Administrator Teri O’Connor said. “This final testing may tell us what’s wrong, or at the very least alleviate any lingering fears people may have about the health of the building.”

Once the tests are complete, the entire building will be cleaned again. A determination about when business will resume at the courthouse will not be made until after the test results have been examined, which means the courthouse could be reopened early next week.