State Health Officials Clear Crockett County Courthouse After Health Scare
OZONA, TX — The Texas Department of State Health Services gave the Crockett County Courthouse annex a clean bill of health earlier this week on Tuesday, March 20.
There was a health scare there Monday after two county officials who worked inside that building were afflicted with sicknesses that purportedly had similar symptoms. Crockett County Treasurer Karen Webb died of the illness. A short while later, Justice of the Peace Evelyn Kerbow fell ill with similar symptoms. The building was the annex to the main courthouse, located next door to the southeast.
The illnesses of the two women prompted Crockett County Judge Fred Keaton to err on the side of caution and close the county’s courthouse annex until state health officials could complete an investigation.
Keaton said in an interview Monday his primary concern was to make sure the county workplaces were safe.
Chris Van Deusen, spokesman for the Texas Department of Health Services in Austin, said the State thoroughly investigated the illnesses of both women. He said they reviewed the medical records and spoke to the physicians who treated the two women. “We determined that the two medical cases, the illnesses, were not related and there was no danger in the courthouse,” he said.
Van Deusen said their investigation conducted for Crockett County was typical of for these kinds of incidents. He said while HIPAA laws prevent him from revealing more about the individual medical cases, the investigation assured his agency that the cases were not identical and did not raise health officials’ suspicions that there was any kind of exposure inside the annex.
The courthouse and its next door annex are located in downtown Ozona in Crockett County. The small rural community does not have a county or city health department. In larger metro areas, like Dallas, Houston, or even San Angelo, the city or the county will have their own health department that will handle cases like these. In rural areas, Van Deusen’s agency fills that role.
After the clean bill of health for the annex building was given Tuesday afternoon, according to the Ozona Stockman newspaper there, Judge Keaton re-opened the building. There no reports of health issues since.