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Chipotle temporarily closes 43 stores following E. Coli scare

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PORTLAND, Ore. – A popular restaurant has closed 43 stores in Oregon and Washington following an E. Coli scare.

So far, no deaths have been reported but several people have been hospitalized.

Chris and Kelly Collins don’t eat out a lot but when they do, they usually stick with Chipotle because of its high quality ingredients.

“I know we’re never going to eat there again after this. This was just a horrible experience,” Chris Collins told KATU.

On Friday, Oct. 23, the couple ate at Chipotle and Chris began feeling ill just 48 hours later.

By Thursday, he was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with E. Coli.

“Oh this was more than just food poisoning. This was a potentially life-threatening exposure,” Kelly Collins said. “I’ve never seen anybody as sick as how sick he was.”

Collins learned he was one of about two dozen patients that were linked to Chipotle.

He’s frustrated after learning the first E. Coli cases occurred eight days before he ate at the restaurant.

“Each store had different signs up for why they were closing, because of mechanical issues or stuff, and one of them I saw had a really snarky sign that was like, ‘Oh, don’t worry. The world will be in balance – we’ll be opening up soon again.’ And it just feels really insensitive to what people are going through,” Kelly said.

Chipotle officials say six of its locations are being investigated, but they decided to close 37 others as a precaution.

“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,” said Chris Arnold, a Chipotle spokesman.

The exact source of contamination has not been determined.

Officials say 19 cases in Washington and three cases in Oregon have been linked to the restaurant. They also say that number could grow.