3 dead, 5 sickened after Thanksgiving meal in Antioch, California

ANTIOCH, Calif. — Three people died and five others were sickened after eating a Thanksgiving meal prepared at Antioch’s American Legion Hall by a local church, according to a Contra Costa County Health Services spokeswoman, CBS San Francisco reported. However, it is unclear if the illness was because of the food.

All eight people were admitted to Sutter Delta Medical Center at various times between Friday and Saturday.

Three people died, four were treated and released and one person remains hospitalized, according to the hospital.

Autrey James, commander at American Legion Post 161, said Golden Hills Community Church was responsible for preparing the meals on Thanksgiving.

“We are extremely, extremely upset that anyone lost their lives,” James said. “We were not ourselves involved in the cooking of the meal.”

The cause of the deaths and illnesses, which surfaced after 835 people ate the meal, is still under investigation, said Health Services spokeswoman Victoria Balladares.

“If it were a food borne outbreak, we’d expect to see a lot more people getting sick,” Balladares said.

At a news conference in Martinez Monday evening, Contra Costa Health Services officials said all the victims were elderly and belonged to the same unidentified care facility. In addition, others from the same facility who ate at the Thanksgiving meal did not get sick.

The county’s public health and environmental health officials were conducting an investigation to determine just what might have killed and sickened the diners, but Balladares said there is no current risk to the general public.

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