Two more are sickened by Thanksgiving meal

Two more people have reported being sickened after eating a Thanksgiving meal at Antioch’s American Legion Hall, bringing the number of cases to 19 including three fatalities, according to Contra Costa Health Services.

All of the people who fell ill, including the three who died, developed symptoms within 24 hours of eating the meal, which was prepared by volunteers with the Golden Hills Community Church.

County health officials said today that they don’t expect any additional cases to surface.

The two new people who reported being sickened after the meal didn’t seek medical attention and have recovered.

The three people who died were identified by the county coroner’s office today as Christopher Cappetti, 43, Chooi Keng Cheah, 59, and Jane Evans, 69.

All three were residents at assisted living facilities in Antioch and all had similar “intestinal abnormalities” that were discovered during autopsies, according to the coroner’s office.

Regulators with the California Department of Social Services will be examining the facilities, Minerva’s Place and Minerva Place IV, to make sure staff took appropriate steps to ensure the residents received timely emergency medical care, department spokesman Michael Weston said.

The cause of the deaths and illnesses, which surfaced after 835 people ate the meal, is still under investigation but county health officials said it’s likely a food-borne illness.

Biological samples tested from the reported cases came back negative for 21 food-borne diseases, including salmonella, E. coli and norovirus, county health officials said today.

Samples will now be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing, which could take months to complete, according to the county.

Health officials said that anyone who still has leftover food from the church dinner should throw it away immediately.