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Prediction for more Salmonella cases proving true in Colorado

The Colorado Salmonella outbreak involving two burrito restaurants that catered two community college events in February continues to expand.

The Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment (WCDPHE) Friday reported the number of confirmed cases now stands at 35.

That’s up from 21 at mid-week, and up from eight on Feb. 22 when Weld County officials first reported the outbreak. From the beginning, Carrie Hanley, Weld County’s director of community health services, said this “has the potential to be a large outbreak.”

For the second consecutive Friday since Hanley made her prediction, it proved correct.

According to the department’s March 2 statement, it “continues to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella illness at several locations in Weld County. The source of the outbreak is the Burrito Delight restaurant, which has voluntarily closed both of its locations in Fort Lupton and Dacono. It is still under investigation as to what is the specific source. The investigation continues around possible food sources.”

The confirmed cases continue to be limited to five Northern Colorado counties with the bulk of them, 27, reported in Weld County with 27. Larimer and Boulder counties each have three confirmed cases while Morgan and Adams counties each have one.

The two Burrito Delight restaurants are both located about 30 miles north of Denver. The Fort Lupton location catered two events in early February at Aims Community College. The first event is associated with four illnesses, and the second college event sickened at least 13.

Burrito Delight locations are also associated directly with 18 other infected people, 13 who were dine-in customers and five who ate takeout orders at their workplaces.

The burrito restaurants have a spotty history with Weld County’s restaurant inspectors.

The Fort Lupton restaurant racked up 22 red violations during five inspections since late 2015. Red violations are those “more likely than other violations to contribute to food contamination or illness.”

Inspectors found 20 red violations at the Dacono Burrito Delight during the past two years. Weld County rated both restaurants as “marginal,” meaning they were allowed to correct their red violations on the spot and remain open.

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