With chicken and other proteins, there's a recommended safe zone between 40 and 140 degrees. The food can only hang around in between those temps for a limited time because the longer the food sits in that unsafe environment (danger zone), the faster the bacteria begin to spread. Two hours is sort of a minimum standard, four is pushing it, also depending on how cold your chicken was when you purchased it. The bacteria are what you're most concerned about, which is why we can cook different meats to different temps. It also depends on whether you purchased thin strips or whole chickens. Obviously, whole chickens will remain colder longer.
It's actually recommended that you NOT cook protein immediately after coming out of the fridge anyway. The fibers will tighten up and you'll have tough meat. If they're whole birds, I actually will intentionally leave them out for a couple of hours.
As was said however, a hospital bill is far more expensive than your $20 from Costco.
This post was edited on 5/6 at 5:00 pm