And now, a Chipotle update: 22 sick from E. coli as Chipotles close in Ore., Wash. amid investigation

A number of Chipotle restaurants across the Northwest abruptly closed late Friday afternoon.

portland-press-herald_3512878On Saturday morning, the Oregon Health Authority said they were investigating a possible E. coli outbreak at Oregon and Washington Chipotles. Three cases in Oregon and 19 in Washington were reported, and one-third of those people were hospitalized, according to OHA spokesman Jonathan Modie.

People in Clackamas and Washington counties in Oregon, and Clark, King, Skagit and Cowlitz counties in Washington have reported symptoms of Shiga toxin E. coli (STEC) infection, according to the OHA.

Chipotle released the following statement Saturday and said all stores near where the illnesses were reported were temporarily closed.

“The safety and wellbeing of our customers is always our highest priority. After being notified by health department officials in the Seattle and Portland, Ore. areas that they were investigating approximately 20 cases of E. coli, including people who ate at six of our restaurants in those areas, we immediately closed all of our restaurants in the area out of an abundance of caution, even though the vast majority of these restaurants have no reported problems. We are working with health department officials to determine the cause of this issue. We offer our deepest sympathies to those who have been affected by this situation.” 

Chipotle restaurants from the Portland metro area all the way up to Seattle closed their doors. Adding to the mystery were the signs found on the doors.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience and sincerely hope that you’ll enjoy the day no matter what you may be observing,” read the sign posted at the PSU Chipotle.

“Don’t panic … due to an equipment issue we are unable to open at this time … order should be restored to the universe in the very near future,” read the sign posted at the Chipotle in Northwest Portland.