HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - A Holland restaurant is closed and county health officials are investigating how at least 40 people got sick from eating there.
The Ottawa County Health Department traced back the food born illness cases to Margarita's Mexican Restaurant on 17th Street in Holland.
Most of those cases happened to people who ate at the restaurant Tuesday night, according to the restaurant's owner Alonzo Salinas.
"My first reaction was like wow... I don't know... how did it get to so many people?" Salinas told 24 Hour News 8 Saturday.
"I just want to apologize and say we are doing everything in our hands right now," he said.
"We're thinking it may be a case of norovirus," Salinas added, citing his conversation with a county health inspector earlier in the day.
An Ottawa County Health Department spokesperson told 24 Hour News 8 most of the people who got sick are recovering after having stomach issues for about 24 hours.
One person did go to the hospital and had to be admitted for dehydration.
The owner voluntarily closed the restaurant's doors, so he can thoroughly clean the place.
Holland Hospital is checking out some samples, and the health department might even send samples to Lansing.
"Hopefully we'll get those results back as soon as possible and that'll help what needs to be done to remediate the situation," Shannon Felgner of the Ottawa County Health Department said.
"I can't even begin to fathom what is going to happen from here," Salinas said. He worries about the image an illness like this send to customers, but hopes what he calls his restaurant's clear near 18-year history will speak for itself.
24 Hour News 8 checked into Margarita's last health inspection in March and found the restaurant had six health code violations; that included one critical violation - a can opener wasn't clean enough for the inspector.
However, those critical violations were fixed immediately.
If you were at Margarita's Mexican Restaurant Wednesday night and got sick, you are asked to call the Ottawa County Health Department at (616) 396-5266 or visit http://www.miottawa.org/HealthComm/Health/
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