Simi Valley Chipotle employees test positive for norovirus
The investigation into the illnesses that sickened nearly 100 (80 customers and 18 employees) at a Southern California Chipotle restaurant two weeks ago has gone into a more solid direction as Ventura County officials reported Thursday that seven of the 18 Simi Valley Chipotle employees have tested positive for the gastrointestinal virus, norovirus, to date
The employees with positive test results will continue to be excluded from the restaurant until subsequent laboratory analysis results are negative for the virus and the Public Health Division has cleared them to return to work. There have been no further reports of illness since the initial reports two weeks ago.
Two weeks ago when employees were sent home for being sick, the establishment at 1263 Simi Town Center Way, in conformance with its own corporate policy, voluntarily closed the facility, threw out all remaining food products, cleaned and disinfected the facility including all food contact surfaces, and excluded all employees with symptoms from working in the restaurant. Ventura County Environmental Health Division (EHD) staff conducted an inspection the following day to confirm that the food had been removed, the restaurant was adequately disinfected, and the 18 employees had been excluded from work.
“Norovirus is a very contagious virus. You can get norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis). This leads to stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.”, said Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County Public Health Officer, “Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States and has been associated with several large outbreaks on cruise ships. The best way to help prevent norovirus is to practice proper hand washing and general cleanliness.”