Going public, Colorado-style: 16 sick with Salmonella at Oscar’s of Breckenridge

Kaeli Subberwal of Summit Daily reports that 16 employees and patrons at a popular Breckenridge taco bar came down with Salmonella poisoning in July. This outbreak led Summit County health officials to shut down the restaurant until the issue was addressed — a process that took six days.

Oscar’s of BreckenridgeMorgan Stovall had been working at Oscar’s of Breckenridge for only three shifts when the health inspectors arrived.

“I guess we knew we were getting a health inspection,” she said, “but we thought they would just come in and make sure we were using gloves and everything; but that health inspector came in with someone higher up who deals with outbreaks.”

The health inspection on July 15 was prompted by three cases of salmonella that were reported to the state health department after Oscar’s patrons went to their medical providers and were diagnosed with the foodborne illness.

“The only common exposure among the three confirmed illnesses is consuming food at Oscar’s restaurant during the week before becoming ill. Specifically, ill persons visited Oscar’s on July 1 and July 4,” read a letter from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to Amy Wineland, the director of Summit County Public Health.

Though Oscar’s is back in business, some workers are still suffering the consequences of the outbreak.

“It’s been nearly 3 weeks, and I’m still testing positive,” employee Brittany Doyne wrote in an email. “I feel I should be compensated for all 3 of my jobs, not just Oscar’s. I’m missing out on thousands of dollars I would have earned had Oscar’s not gotten me sick. Nearly all of what little savings I have is gone now.”

How the sick employees are being compensated while out of work is unclear.