MONROE, N.C. -- Union County officials say there were missteps in the reporting of plumbing problems at a Dunkin' Donuts tied to at least a dozen people coming down with stomach problems.
Authorities aren't going into specifics about what the missteps are or who made them, just that it's been rectified and Dunkin' Donuts is following all protocols and cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation.
Officials also say people claiming to be restaurant customers are calling the health department saying they have stomach problems including cramping, diarrhea and vomiting. They did not say how many people called.
Health officials initially reported 12 people sick. It includes six employees and six of their relatives stemming from the plumbing problem during the store's grand opening January 31.
The question state health investigators are trying to answer is whether the newly reported illnesses are connected to the store or just seasonal illnesses that have nothing to do with the Dunkin' Donuts store on W. Roosevelt Boulevard in Monroe.
"There are a number of gastrointestinal illnesses that are frequent in the winter time anyway, so we need to make sure what's associated and what's not," said Union County Department of Human Services Executive Director Richard Matens.
"Department of Public Health employees in Monroe are collecting detailed information from callers to determine if the pattern and onset of illness coincides with the investigation of Dunkin' Donuts."
Dunkin Donuts isn't saying how bad the problem was, just that safety is a top priority for employees and customers, the problem has been cleaned up and the store inspected to make sure all safety guidelines are being followed.
An employee who doesn't want to be identified says the plumbing problem was bad.
"It was cleaned up before I came in, but the video we have on the phone is water about three inches deep. Just nasty sewer water and actual feces on the floor," the employee said.
What exactly made people sick still hasn't been identified. Testing at the state lab in Raleigh continues.
Health officials are still urging anyone with stomach problems to call (704) 296-4813.