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3 Dead, 5 Sickened After Thanksgiving Meal At Antioch American Legion Hall

ANTIOCH (CBS SF) -- 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.

All eight people were admitted to Sutter Delta Medical Center at various times between Friday and Saturday with what appeared to be food borne illnesses.

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.

Some of the food was prepared by volunteers, but some of it was also donated from area restaurants.

"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 assisted 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.

Officials said there may be victims who haven't yet come to light.

"We're interviewing people that we know are ill," said Contra Costa County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Louise McNitt. "And we're also trying to find people who had some symptoms and maybe didn't seek any healthcare."

TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.


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