More cases of E. coli in Washington, Oregon expected; 43 Chipotle restaurants remain closed

SEATTLE (AP) — A spokesman for Chipotle says the company plans to keep all 43 of its Mexican restaurants closed in Oregon and Washington state until health officials investigating an E. coli outbreak say it's safe to reopen.

Twenty-two people in the two states have been sickened by an E. coli outbreak and most of those people have eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks.

Washington health officials expect that number will go up as more people go to the doctor after hearing about the outbreak over the weekend.

Company spokesman Chris Arnold says the investigation is the priority right now. The company has not made plans to close any other restaurants in other states as there is no evidence of a link to other restaurants.

Arnold said Chipotle immediately closed all of its restaurants in the area “out of an abundance of caution even though the vast majority of these restaurants have no reported problems.”

In a press conference Saturday, Washington health experts said anyone who has eaten at Chipotle in the last three weeks–then fallen ill–should consult a doctor.

Symptoms of E. coli can include bloody bowel movements, stomach cramps, fever and vomiting.