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3 dead, 8 hospitalized after eating Thanksgiving dinner served by church in California

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ANTIOCH, California —  Three people have died after eating a Thanksgiving meal served by a church in California.

The annual thanksgiving dinner at the American Legion Hall is usually a joyful community affair. But this year, three people who attended the dinner ended up dead.

Officials say more than 800 came to eat turkey and stuffing and celebrate Thanksgiving. Among the crowd were homeless people and elderly people from across Antioch, California.

Beginning on Black Friday and on Saturday, November 26th, people started showing up at Sutter Delta Medical Center with symptoms of food poisoning. Of the eight who were hospitalized, three died.

“Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,” Victoria Balladares, Contra Costa County Health Services spokeswoman said.

Balladares said it will take some detective work to figure out exactly what happened — because not only did all eight victims go to the same Thanksgiving dinner, they also happen to live in the same assisted living facility.

There may still be other victims who haven’t come forward.

“We’re interviewing people that we know are ill and we’re also trying to find people who may have had some symptoms but maybe didn’t seek any care,” Balladares said.

Officials say the Thanksgiving dinner was prepared by Golden Hills Community Church.

Some of the dishes were cooked by restaurants and other professional facilities. Others were donated by volunteers. Others were cooked on site.

Officials haven’t released the names of those who have died in this case.

They say no one else at the assisted living facility have reported becoming ill.

An investigation is underway to determine what may have killed three, and sickened others.