TV6 once again digs for the truth in what is quickly turning into both a PR nightmare for McDonalds and the Rock Island Health Department, as well as a growing public health disaster. Those now counted ill are at least 20 with 11 so far hospitalized.
Tonight TV6 interviewed a woman who says she was on the job at the Milan McDonald’s in June when she was diagnosed with the Hepatitis A virus. She is likely the index (first) case. She claims that she made her diagnosis clear to McDonald’s management in June after she was hospitalized, but they did nothing about it. She says:
Her: "I got out of the hospital June 20. I went in that week and I talked to one of the managers who did the scheduling and I told her I was taking 6 months to a year off because I was diagnosed with Hepatitis A," she says.
TV6: "And what date was that," we asked.
Her: "I’d say the 22nd to 26th, somewhere in there," she responds.
TV6: "Of June?"
Today TV6 asked the owner of the McDonald’s to comment on the employee’s claim that she had informed them in June. Last week the owner of the Milan McDonald’s said the restaurant didn’t learn that one of its employees had Hepatitis A until July 13th. Now he has refused to comment. Also according to KWQC TV6:
The most recent health inspection reports on the fast food restaurant reveal that they learned one employee had Hepatitis A back on June 9th. There is nothing in the records that indicates the Rock Island County Health Department tried to close the restaurant until more than five weeks later, and after another employee tested positive for the disease. Health department records show inspectors went back and forth with the same restaurant at least five times since February, citing the restaurant on dozens of sanitation violations.
– On April 1st, the record shows eight violations, involving employee "extensive hand contact in assembling sandwiches" and noting "condiments/cheese, etc. added with bare hands." The report also mentions, "mold on ice machine."
– On July 14th, after one employee had a confirmed case of Hepatitis-A, a health inspector noted in a report that employees weren’t properly washing their hands and need to "wear gloves" anytime they have "cuts, painted nails, fake nails." The inspector also noted that employees were given "handouts regarding hand washing and Hep. A". Still, the restaurant remained open until the following day.
– On July 15th, an inspection report includes a six-page laundry list detailing eleven violations, two of them critical, involving "hygienic practices" and "presence of insects/rodents."
The plot thickens.