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Three People Dead After Annual Thanksgiving Charity Dinner

Eight people became sick and three are dead after an annual Thanksgiving dinner charity event.

The event was held Nov. 25 at Antioch's American Legion Hall in Antioch, California, KTVU reported. The annual charity dinner is hosted by Golden Hills Community Church, and is meant to provide a feast for people without family or the means to make a Thanksgiving dinner of their own.

Some of the food is made at Antioch's American Legion Hall itself. Some is donated by local restaurants or brought in from homes. Antioch's American Legion Hall has a county permit for food preparation.

But after the annual Thanksgiving feast, eight people became ill, and three have died. During a news conference Nov. 28, Contra Costa County said they doubt that food poisoning had anything to do with it.

The County noted that there was a total of 800 people who were served at the event. All eight of the attendees who became ill were elderly residents of the same assisted living facility.

"They could have gotten sick from food they prepared at their living facility rather than the Thanksgiving event," Environmental Health Director Dr. Marilyn Underwood told reporters. "So at this point, we are not calling this a food borne disease outbreak."

The norovirus has been ruled out so far after some testing. However, health officials will need more time to identify the pathogen.

Officials are collecting samples from attendees who became ill. They are also interviewing attendees who were from the senior living facility about what food they consumed that day.

"There are some staff and other people who live there who are not ill so far, and some of those went to the Thanksgiving event too," said Dr. Louise McNitt, Deputy Health Director.

Officials are asking anyone else who attended the event and became ill with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea to come forward.

"We are trying to find people who may have had some some symptoms, but didn't seek any health care, and so we're trying to get the word out to people who attended, please let us know if they were ill," Dr. McNitt added.

Health officials are emphasizing that there is no risk to the public at Antioch's American Legion Hall, KNTV reported. Another charity event went on as scheduled Nov. 28, and the health department said there was no reason for the kitchen to be shut down.

Sources: KTVU, KNTV / Photo credit: KTVU

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