Three died, five were released, and one remained in the hospital on Monday.
"It was a nice dinner, turkey, stuffing, cranberries and coffee", Alviar said. "All of the patients are associated with the same living facility, so it's unclear if the illness is related to the Thanksgiving Day event or their living situation".
However, it remains uncertain if the victims fell sick after eating the diner at the church or at the assisted living facility where they all resided. Fellow attendees of the Thanksgiving meal may be able to help with the investigation.
The questionable meal was prepared by Golden Hills Community Church at Antioch's American Legion Hall.
About 835 people attended the Thanksgiving meal on Thursday in the suburb about 45 miles northeast of San Francisco.
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Some of the food is prepared and brought from homes, some is donated by stores or restaurants, and some is cooked at Antioch's American Legion Hall, where the buffet is served. Health officials are awaiting test results and interviewing those who are recovering.
"We are extremely, extremely upset that anyone lost their lives", said Autrey James, commander at American Legion Post 161. Maybe, but health officials caution, maybe not. Louise McNitt, deputy health officer for Contra Costa County, told the Chronicle that other residents and staff members ate at the dinner but did not get sick.
Eight people were treated at a hospital between Friday and Saturday, county officials said.
"We're saddened that this incident occurred during what should be a festive time", McNitt said.