The Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold will remain closed for the rest of the week as state health officials attempt to determine the cause of an irritant that has sickened dozens of court staffers since last Friday.

Monmouth County Spokesman Bill Heine says earlier test for common allergens have turned up nothing out of the ordinary. He says "the State Department of Health wants to do a more prolonged air quality test over a 24 hour period."

However, that doesn't mean the business of the court has come to a grinding halt. State Judiciary Spokeswoman Winnie Comfort says they have contingency plans in place for emergency matters like bail reviews, domestic violence issues and DYFS hearings. She also adds that these contingency plans have been put in place for every court facility in the state years in advance. "At any given point in time we already know what an alternative locations' gonna be. Sometimes even by name we've already identified staff and judges."

In a press release, Heine says previous testing proved negative, including those for volatile compounds and such things as dust, mold or pollen. However, he says those test were short-term screenings.

Heine says the prolonged screenings will be followed by another cleaning of the entire building. He says 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.