IN-N-OUT BURGER PHOTO 1 (copy)

While several Colorado Springs-area stores and restaurants closed in 2020, In-N-Out Burger drew crowds in late November when it opened its first local restaurant in the Victory Ridge development

on the north side of Colorado Springs.

The outbreaks at Colorado's two In-N-Out Burger locations grew again this week and now include nearly 170 staff members across the two restaurants.

The outbreaks were first identified in December and have steadily grown in the three weeks since they were first reported, according to weekly outbreak data published by the state Department of Public Health and Environment. Seventy-four staff members in Aurora have been infected as of Wednesday, along with 94 at the Colorado Springs location. 

According to that data, neither outbreak has lead to any customers being infected.

The outbreak in Aurora has more than tripled in a month. Last week, the Aurora restaurant had 62 cases, while the Springs spot had 83. When the outbreak was first reported in December, 60 workers in Colorado Springs and 20 in Aurora were initially ill. 

An In-N-Out executive said last week that there were fewer than five active cases at the restaurants, although the outbreak had grown by 25 staff members. 

"The remaining Associates who tested positive have already recovered, and are presently healthy and well," Denny Warnick, the company's vice president of operations, said in an email last week. "While we feel positive about the improvement, we are concerned when any member of our Associate family is affected. We continue to keep them in our prayers and we’ll also continue to take action to keep our teams as safe as possible."

Asked last week to confirm In-N-Out's assertion, a spokesperson for the state health department wrote that there "are multiple factors that dictate if a case is no longer infectious or if it is resolved, and we don’t track that because it is part of individual case investigation and management." 

The authority to close either restaurant rests with the local health departments, the state health department said. Health officials in those local agencies have said there are no plans to close either location. A spokeswoman for El Paso County said last week that In-N-Out was "adhering to frequent cleaning and disinfecting protocols, in addition to enacting employee screenings, exclusion of ill employees, and cohorting staff." 

Outside of clusters in prisons, jails and long-term care facilities, the two outbreaks remain among the worst in the state, particularly for restaurants. Of the more than two dozen other restaurant outbreaks, only two have 10 or more cases. 

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