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Chains With the Most COVID-19 Outbreaks in Colorado

The scene at a Jefferson County Costco on November 8.
The scene at a Jefferson County Costco on November 8.
Photo by Michael Roberts

The last report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment chronicling COVID-19 outbreaks, released November 4, set a distressing new record with 197 fresh entries in a single week. The list now includes a total of 1,337 entries (587 active outbreaks, 750 considered resolved). Since the CDPHE started tracking outbreaks in April, some business names — including many national chains — have popped up again and again.

Bet you shop and/or eat at several of them.

The CDPHE considers an entity an outbreak after two or more COVID-19 cases among residents, staffers or other people connected to a specific location are confirmed within a fourteen-day period, or two or more cases of respiratory illness with an onset of symptoms within a fourteen-day period are paired with at least one additional COVID-19 diagnosis. The vast majority of businesses and facilities identified as outbreaks remain open while working with the department to monitor symptoms and prevent future infections.

Several of the chains to make the top-ten list for Colorado outbreaks (there are actually eleven entries because of a tie) have been the focus of Westword stories for questionable safety protocols — a lack of proper mask use among customers and employees and slacking when it comes to limiting capacity among them. No one was monitoring the number of shoppers entering a Jefferson County Costco we visited on November 8, for example; the store was as overstuffed as if there were no pandemic, and all of the employees we saw outside — a couple of them standing close together — had ditched their masks.

Of course, individual managers are responsible for operations at chain branches. But for whatever reason, some stores and eateries have been visited by the disease more frequently than others. There are four fast-food restaurants on the CDPHE roster: McDonald's and Chick-fil-A, with eight outbreaks each, plus Wendy's with four and Taco Bell with three. Only two other fast-food purveyors make the list — Sonic and Culver's, with two apiece — and Starbucks, which boasts approximately a gazillion locations in the state, has notched two as well.

Home Depot has tallied ten outbreaks in Colorado, while its chief competitor, Lowe's, has seen only one. And sister stores King Soopers and City Market have combined for a stunning fourteen outbreaks; in contrast, Safeway has had just two.

Here's a countdown for the chains with the most COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado through November 4, with information from the CDPHE on the dates the cases were confirmed or resolved and the number of infections or deaths that resulted from them.

10. (Tie) Taco Bell (3 Outbreaks)
Taco Bell, Active, Restaurant — Fast Food, Boulder County, 10/13/2020, 2 positive staff cases, 1 probable staff case
Taco Bell, Resolved, 8/28/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Pueblo County, 8/4/2020, 5 positive staff cases, 1 probable staff case
Taco Bell — Elizabeth St, Resolved, 8/26/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Pueblo County, 8/4/2020, 4 positive staff cases

10. (Tie)  American Furniture Warehouse (3 Outbreaks)

American Furniture Warehouse, Active, Retailer, El Paso County, 8/18/2020, 6 positive staff cases, 7 probable staff cases
American Furniture Warehouse #32, Active, Retailer, Adams County, 10/28/2020, 5 positive staff cases, 6 probable staff cases
American Furniture Warehouse #62, Active, Retailer, Douglas County, 11/3/2020, 3 positive staff cases, 8 probable staff cases

Another angle on the throngs of customers at a Jeffco Costco on November 8.
Another angle on the throngs of customers at a Jeffco Costco on November 8.
Photo by Michael Roberts

9. (Tie) Costco (4 Outbreaks)

Costco #440, Active, Grocery Store, Jefferson County, 10/2/2020, 13 positive staff cases, 1 probable staff case
Costco — Parker, Active, Grocery Store, Douglas County, 10/26/2020, 3 positive staff cases, 10 probable staff cases
Costco Wholesale #676, Active, Retailer, Jefferson County, 10/29/2020, 11 positive staff cases, 1 probable staff case
Costco Wholesale, Resolved, 6/16/2020, Retailer, Arapahoe County, 5/7/2020, 7 positive staff cases, 4 probable staff cases

9. (Tie) Whole Foods (4 Outbreaks)

Whole Foods — Tamarac: October 2020, Active, Grocery Store, Denver County, 10/21/2020, 5 positive staff cases
Whole Foods Market Belmar, Active, Grocery Store, Jefferson County, 10/26/2020, 2 positive staff cases
Whole Foods Market Cherry Creek, Active, Grocery Store, Denver County, 11/2/2020, 2 positive staff cases, 4 probable staff cases
Whole Foods — Tamarac: September 2020, Resolved, 9/18/2020, Grocery Store, Denver County, 9/1/2020, 5 positive staff cases

9. (Tie) Wendy's (4 Outbreaks)

Wendy's 11595: October 2020, Active, Restaurant — Fast Food, Douglas County, 10/29/2020, 2 positive staff cases
Wendy's, Resolved, 9/6/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Logan County, 8/12/2020, 2 positive staff cases, 1 probable staff case
Wendy's, Resolved, 10/29/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Larimer County, 10/12/2020, 3 positive staff cases
Wendy's 11595: July 2020, Resolved, 8/11/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Douglas County, 7/28/2020, 2 positive staff cases

6. Target (5 Outbreaks)

Target Distribution Center: October 2020, Active, Distribution Center/Business, Pueblo County, 10/12/2020, 4 positive staff cases, 1 probable staff case
Target SE Aurora, Active, Retailer, Arapahoe County, 10/28/2020, 4 positive staff cases, 6 probable staff cases
Target Glendale, Active, Retailer, Arapahoe County, 11/3/2020, 2 positive staff cases, 2 probable staff cases
Target, Resolved, 10/8/2020, Retailer, Summit County, 9/15/2020, 3 positive staff cases
Target Distribution Warehouse: July 2020, Resolved, 9/17/2020, Distribution Center/Business, Pueblo County, 7/16/2020, 7 positive staff cases, 3 probable staff cases

5. (Tie) Chick-Fil-A (8 Outbreaks)

Chick-Fil-A, Active, Restaurant — Fast Food, Broomfield County, 10/27/2020, 3 positive staff cases, 8 probable staff cases
Chick-Fil-A, Resolved, 6/23/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Larimer County, 5/15/2020, 9 positive staff cases, 5 probable staff cases
Chick-fil-A, Resolved, 6/29/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Adams County, 5/12/2020, 2 positive staff cases, 3 probable staff cases
Chick-Fil-A #01911, Resolved, 8/25/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Adams County, 7/9/2020, 12 positive staff cases, 3 probable staff cases
Chick-fil-A #1110, Resolved, 7/14/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Jefferson County, 6/17/2020, 3 positive staff cases, 1 probable staff case
Chick-fil-A #2721, Resolved, 8/4/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Jefferson County, 7/8/2020, 2 positive staff cases
Chick-Fil-A 01304: June 2020, Resolved, 8/25/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Arapahoe County, 6/2/2020, 4 positive staff cases, 5 probable staff cases
Chick-Fil-A 01304: September 2020, Resolved, 9/30/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Arapahoe County, 8/28/2020, 2 positive staff cases, 3 probable staff cases

5. (Tie) Walmart (8 Outbreaks)

Walmart #3582, Active, Retailer, El Paso County, 5/18/2020, 11 positive staff cases, 19 probable staff cases
Walmart #4599, Active, Retailer, Larimer, 11/2/2020, 3 positive staff cases
Walmart Distribution Center: November 2020, Active, Distribution Center/Business, Larimer County, 10/13/2020, 6 positive staff cases
Walmart #1199, Resolved, 8/18/2020, Retailer, Eagle County, 6/24/2020, 11 positive staff cases
Walmart #1492, Resolved, 6/9/2020, Retailer, Arapahoe County, 4/22/2020, 16 positive staff cases, 2 probable staff cases, 2 staff deaths
Walmart #2729, Resolved, 8/31/2020, Retailer, Larimer County, 8/3/2020, 3 positive staff cases, 1 probable staff case
Walmart #3177, Resolved, 9/15/2020, Retailer, Larimer County, 7/21/2020, 3 positive staff cases, 2 probable staff cases
Walmart Distribution Center: May 2020, Resolved, 6/19/2020, Distribution Center/Business Distribution, Larimer County, 5/15/2020, 31 positive staff cases, 2 probable staff cases

5. (Tie) McDonald's (8 Outbreaks)

McDonald's, Active, Restaurant — Fast Food, Adams County, 10/21/2020, 5 positive staff cases, 1 probable staff case
McDonald's, Active, Restaurant — Fast Food, Denver County, 10/27/2020, 4 positive staff cases
McDonald's, Resolved 8/20/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Gunnison County, 7/23/2020, 7 positive staff cases
McDonald's, Resolved, 7/27/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, El Paso County, 5/18/2020, 7 positive staff cases, 1 probable staff case
McDonald's, Resolved, 8/19/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Denver County, 8/4/2020, 5 positive staff cases
McDonald's #17465, Resolved, 8/23/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Kit Carson County, 7/26/2020, 2 positive staff cases
McDonald's (5765 Constitution Ave), Resolved, 10/6/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, El Paso County, 9/4/2020, 3 positive staff cases, 6 probable staff cases
McDonald's, Resolved, 7/30/2020, Restaurant — Fast Food, Prowers County, 6/30/2020, 5 positive staff cases, 2 probable staff cases

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2. Home Depot (10 Outbreaks)

The Home Depot #1501, Active, Retailer, Arapahoe County, 10/20/2020, 4 positive staff cases, 8 probable staff cases
The Home Depot #1503, Active, Retailer, Adams County, 8/10/2020, 7 positive staff cases, 47 probable staff cases
The Home Depot #1509, Active, Retailer, Arapahoe County, 5/14/2020, 5 positive staff cases, 20 probable staff cases
The Home Depot #1520, Active, Retailer, Denver County, 10/22/2020, 4 positive staff cases
The Home Depot #1522, Active, Retailer, Jefferson County, 10/27/2020, 2 positive staff cases
The Home Depot #1550, Active, Retailer, Jefferson County, 10/26/2020, 2 positive staff cases
The Home Depot #1512, Resolved, 9/25/2020, Retailer, Larimer County, 9/8/2020, 2 positive staff cases
The Home Depot #1525, Resolved, 8/31/2020, Retailer, Eagle County, 8/19/2020, 4 positive staff cases
The Home Depot #1526, Resolved, 7/7/2020, Retailer, Arapahoe County, 5/19/2020, 2 positive staff cases, 6 probable staff cases
The Home Depot #1544, Resolved, 9/11/2020, Retailer, Larimer County, 8/24/2020, 2 positive staff cases

1. King Soopers/CityMarket (14 Outbreaks)

King Soopers #114, Active, Grocery Store, Adams County, 6/2/2020, 9 positive staff cases, 45 probable staff cases
King Soopers #36, Active, Grocery Store, Jefferson, 10/28/2020, 3 positive staff cases
King Soopers #40, Active, Grocery Store, Jefferson, 10/28/2020, 2 positive staff cases
King Soopers #1, Active, Grocery Store, Denver County, 10/6/2020, 4 positive staff cases
King Soopers #127, Resolved, 7/14/2020, Grocery Store, Jefferson County, 6/15/2020, 3 positive staff cases
King Soopers #19, Resolved, 6/18/2020, Grocery Store, Denver County, 5/28/2020, 3 positive staff cases
King Soopers #25, Resolved, 6/9/2020, Grocery Store, Jefferson County, 5/18/2020, 4 positive staff cases
King Soopers #29, Resolved, 6/25/2020. Grocery Store, Denver County, 5/12/2020, 13 positive staff cases, 2 staff deaths
King Soopers #78, Resolved, 6/9/2020, Grocery Store, Jefferson County, 5/18/2020, 4 positive staff cases
King Soopers #90, Resolved, 10/15/2020, Grocery Store, Jefferson County, 10/2/2020, 2 positive staff cases
King Soopers Bakery, Resolved, 5/27/2020, Specialty Food Retailer, Bakery, Denver County, 4/27/2020, 27 positive staff cases, 7 probable staff cases, 1 staff death
City Market, Resolved, 6/9/2020, Grocery Store, Summit County, 4/28/2020, 14 positive staff cases, 5 probable staff cases
City Market Store #433 — El Jebel, Resolved, 7/14/2020, Grocery Store, Eagle County, 6/8/2020, 6 positive staff cases, 6 probable staff cases
City Market Store #434 — Eagle, Resolved, 7/14/2020, Grocery Store, Eagle County, 6/8/2020, 4 positive staff cases

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