Eight people were admitted to Sutter Delta Medical Center after a Thanksgiving dinner with what appeared to be food borne illnesses. Three have since died. (Courtesy photo)

Three dead, five sickened after Bay Area Thanksgiving meal

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 spokesperson.

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.

“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.

The county’s public health and environmental health officials are 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.

Contra Costa Health Services officials will host a 5 p.m. news conference at 597 Center Ave. in Martinez, Room 200.

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