Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

County Health Services ID’s two more cases of illness linked to Thanksgiving dinner, rules out 21 foodborne diseases

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

The Contra Costa Health Services issued the following announcement at 5:44 p.m.:

Update on Public Health Investigation of Incident in Antioch

Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) has now identified two additional people who fell ill soon after eating food from a Thanksgiving charity event in Antioch.

All people who became ill developed symptoms within 24 hours of ingesting food served at the charity event and we don’t expect to see new cases.

These two newly discovered people didn’t seek medical attention and have recovered. There are now 19 total people known to have fallen ill—including three people who died—after eating food served at the Antioch American Legion auditorium, 403 West Sixth St., on Thanksgiving.

Anyone with leftover food from this event should not eat it and throw it away. Anyone who ate food from the Thanksgiving Day event and is now feeling sick should immediately contact their medical provider and also call CCHS at 925-313-6740.

Tests of biological samples from the reported cases came back negative for 21 foodborne diseases, including salmonella, E. coli and norovirus. CCHS is sending samples to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to test for other agents that are common but testing is not locally available. Results from the CDC tests may not be available for months.
Our Public Health and Environmental Health divisions continue to work in collaboration on the ongoing investigation

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Golden Hills Community Church issues updated statement on possible dinner related illnesses and deaths

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

According to Larry Adams, Senior Pastor of Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood and Antioch, the following updated statement about the Thanksgiving dinner they served in Antioch, last Thursday, and the possibly linked illnesses and three deaths, was posted on the church’s website on Tuesday night:

This past week we were alerted to an outbreak of illness in our community that could have been related to our annual Thanksgiving meal served in Antioch. Golden Hills Community Church has been seeking to help meet this need in the community for over 30 years with meals served to many thousands of people. As the week unfolded, we met with Contra Costa Health officials seeking to assist them in any way possible to determine the source of the illness. The preliminary evidence seemed to point away from the food that we served to over 800 people that day.

Our greatest concern has been twofold. First and foremost we are grieving for those who have lost precious loved ones and for those who have endured this illness. The loss of life is a human tragedy that no amount of investigation can undo. While we do not, even now, know who these individuals are, this has not stopped us from grieving and praying diligently for these families.

Secondly, we have wanted to hear from the Health Department their  determination of the real cause of this illness, regardless of our connection. Truth will help prevent future occurrences of this type of illness and perhaps keep others from having this horrible experience.

We still do not have any conclusive word from County Officials regarding this matter. We continue to do what we can to help with the investigation that is ongoing. Evidence that once pointed away from the meal that we provided to so many, now seems to point back that direction. We will continue to await the final findings, to pray for all those affected, and offer to do what we can to help those who are hurting. We thank those who have joined us in prayer and ask you to continue in your efforts.

The church’s website is

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County Coroner identifies three Antioch victims of possible food-related deaths

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

By Allen Payton

The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Coroner’s Division has identified the three victims in the possible food-related deaths that occurred in Antioch, on Wednesday afternoon.

They are identified as: 43-year old Christopher Cappetti, 59-year-old Chooi Keng Cheah and 69-year-old Jane Evans. They were residents at assisted living facilities in Antioch.

Autopsies for the victims show all three had similar intestinal abnormalities. The Forensic Pathologist is trying to determine the causes of death, which are pending the results of various tests.

The Coroner’s Division continues to work with Contra Costa Health Services on this case.

According to Michael Weston, spokesperson for the California Department of Social Services, “two of the deceased individuals were from Minerva’s Place on Palo Verde Way and the third individual was from Minerva Place IV which is on El Paso Way” in Antioch.

In a Wednesday afternoon interview, he shared additional information about the homes where those who died resided.

Owned and operated by Emerito Ramon and Minerva Gonzalez, they have “four different facilities in two different licensing categories,” Weston stated.

Two are “residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFE) assisted living. They can be for seniors age 60 and over,” he explained. “But it can be individuals with like needs. There’s some flexibility in that area.”

When told of the one man who died who was age 43 and another age 59, Weston replied, “That wouldn’t be uncommon to have. It just depends on the needs of that individual. I don’t know the exact type of clients they serve. An RCFE may be a better fit for somebody even if they’re not at the age of 60, yet.”

The Gonzalez’ also own two adult residential facilities (ARF) in Antioch, which are “basically a residential care home for people age 18 through 59 with mental health care needs or people with physical or developmental disabilities,” Weston stated.

Those are Minerva Place II with State License #79200259 at 2831 Vista Way and Minerva Place III with license #079200232 at 1128 Monterey Drive.

Two more locations with the Minerva name in Antioch are listed on the internet, including Minerva’s Place Arf at 1911 Wilson Court and Minerva’s Place #2 at 2833 Fortuna Court, but don’t appear on the state’s website.

“They may have other facilities that don’t require a license,” Weston explained. “It depends on the level of care need, like a boarding house and if people administer their own medications. The licenses are for 24-hour care facilities.”

“Room and boards, (also known as) board and care homes, don’t require licenses,” he continued. “Halfway houses don’t require licensing, either. You’d have to talk to the local city or the county, whoever is in charge, regarding any restrictions they may have for that.”

Residents from another home in Antioch were also at the Thanksgiving dinner served by the church.

“We were made aware that Rose’s Garden Adult Residential #3, license number 079200512, also had individuals at the event,” Weston shared. “That’s an adult residential facility.”

But, he couldn’t share if any of those residents had fallen ill or went to the hospital due to health privacy laws.

“So five different facilities we’ve been in contact with regarding this,” he added. “The fatalities are related to the Minerva Place locations.”

Attempts to reach the Gonzalez’ for comment and to answer questions about the matter have been unsuccessful.

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County Health Services claim nine more people possibly got sick at Antioch Thanksgiving meal served by church

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016
The American Legion Hall and Veterans Memorial Building in Antioch where the Thanksgiving dinners were served last Thursday.

The American Legion Hall and Veterans Memorial Building on West 6th Street in Antioch where the Thanksgiving dinner was served, last Thursday, November 24, 2016.

By Allen Payton

The Costa Health Services (CCHS) announced on Tuesday, they are investigating several new cases that are likely related to a foodborne illness outbreak reported in Antioch over the weekend. CCHS investigators on Tuesday contacted an additional eight people who were likely sickened by food or drink from the same event. None of those patients are currently hospitalized.

During a second press conference on the matter in Martinez on Tuesday afternoon, Environmental Health Director Marilyn Underwood and Dr. Louise McNitt, Communicable Disease Medical Director, stated there is now a ninth additional person who was reported to also become sick due to eating at the same dinner. That brings the total number of people who claim to be sickened by the meal served by Golden Hills Community Church to 17.

Eight cases of possible foodborne illness connected to the incident, including three that resulted in death, were reported to Public Health on Nov. 25 by Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch. All of the eight patients reported by Sutter Delta ate food from the holiday event.

It is now reported that all eight were residents of three different senior care, assisted living, group home facilities of four in Antioch owned by the same couple. Calls to the administrator and licensee of the homes, asking them why some of their staff and residents, as well as they and their family attended the Thanksgiving meal intended for the homeless, low-income residents and those who didn’t want to be alone on the holiday, were not returned before publication time.

In an attempt to clarify information about where the food was prepared, that was served at the Antioch event organizer Jeff Oransky explained that, “some of the food is prepared in people’s homes like the turkey, ham, and some of the stuffing, and then brought to the hall. The only things prepared on site are instant mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn and green beans.”

He mentioned the small size of the kitchen at the hall as the reason. Asked about how he can control the quality of the food being prepared and brought in, he replied, “We’ve had discussions about that” since last Thursday. “We’ve never had a problem before.”

“We’re pretty careful,” Oransky explained. “Every year we buy 600 disposable gloves and we  run out of every one of them. We generally don’t touch the food, even with the gloves. We use the ladles and utensils, and we keep everything heated. Nothing just sits out.”

“The other issue is the to-go meals,” he continued. “Some people come in and take a to-go meal to take home. Others eat there and also take a meal home. As far as I know they haven’t determined if these people (who got sick) did one or the other, or both.”

Asked if there were delivery of prepared meals from the hall, Oransky said, “No, not that I know of. We don’t deliver them. I don’t have enough people to do that.”

“We have Meals On Wheels deliveries. But they have nothing to do with the food at the hall,” he clarified. “Those meals are all professionally prepared and delivered to people’s homes, who are Meals On Wheels clients. But Meals On Wheels doesn’t deliver on Thanksgiving, so we take it over and deliver for them. But, we don’t deliver food prepared from the hall.”

Asked about serving the Thanksgiving Day meals in the future, Golden Hills Community Church Executive Pastor Phil Hill, said “the county health services told us in the future we would have to get a permit and that means that all food would have to be prepared in an approved commercial facility.”

Asked if that will be required even if it’s determined that the church is not at fault, he responded, “Correct.”

An email asking for the name of the group distributing prepared meals outside of the hall, to people standing in line waiting to get in for the Thanksgiving meal was sent to Vicky Balladares, Communications Officer for Contra Costa Health Services.

She replied, “Our Environmental Health folks are trying to get the name. As far as I know they have not been able to get a name yet.”

Anyone who ate food from the Thanksgiving Day event at the Antioch American Legion Hall and Veterans Memorial Building at 403 West Sixth Street, and is now feeling ill should immediately contact their medical provider. Anyone who is not ill, but has food or drink from the event, should throw it away. The general public can call (925) 313-6700 for more information.

County health investigators are in the process of collecting biological samples from the reported cases for testing at county and state public health laboratories.

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Breast cancer community comes together at the Cow Palace during annual Grand National Rodeo

Saturday, October 8th, 2016
Stacey Freitas of Galt, CA placed 2nd in the barrel racing competition during the 2015 Grand National Rodeo. photo by Allen Payton

Stacey Freitas of Galt, CA placed 2nd in the barrel racing competition during the 2015 Grand National Rodeo. photo by Allen Payton

‘Tough Enough To Wear Pink’ Day, Friday October 21st

Free Tickets for Breast Cancer survivors and their families from the Herald!

Pink Plate co-founders, Carla Kimball (center) and Survivor Sisters of Contra Costa County (L-R) Deborah Bordeau, Heather McCullough, Chere Rush and Heather Solari. photo courtesy of

Pink Plate co-founders, Carla Kimball (center) and Survivor Sisters of Contra Costa County (L-R) Deborah Bordeau, Heather McCullough, Chere Rush and Heather Solari. photo courtesy of

For the first time ever the 70th Annual Grand National Livestock Expo, Horse Show, and Rodeo announces Friday, October 21, 2016 as “Tough Enough To Wear Pink” Day, and plans to bring together the Breast Cancer community in a day of solidarity and awareness. As a national campaign, Tough Enough to Wear Pink Programs in rodeos across the nation have raised almost $10 Million dollars. But the biggest asset of the program is that the money stays in local communities.

The Grand National Rodeo has partnered with Bay Area Cancer Connections, and California Pink Plate. To get involved attendees can stop by booths in the Western Marketplace to learn about early detection and other resources for cancer patients and survivors. Bay Area Cancer Connections is a nonprofit that provides free programs and services that address survivorship needs of all those facing breast and ovarian cancer in the Bay Area, including early breast cancer detection services for low-income uninsured young women and men.

By partnering with the California Pink Plate organization, the Grand National hopes to help the organization reach the DMV requirement of 7,500 paid orders which will then move the Pink Ribbon license plate into production. The Pink Plate is almost halfway to their goal, with nine months left until the deadline, the Grand National can play a big part in helping to make the plate a reality. All proceeds from the pink license plates goes to the ‘Every Woman Counts’ initiative, which provides underserved women all over California the opportunity to get free screenings, something that the founder of the pink plate feels is the key to beating the disease.

“I am a nine-year stage IV breast cancer survivor and I ignored my lump for several months. I don’t want that to happen to another woman/man. What better way to remind people everyday about early detection than on the California roadways. Pink Plate can become a part of the solution. This is an opportunity to save countless lives and remind people daily about the importance of early detection. We are all in this together, and excited to partner up with Tough Enough to Wear Pink and the Grand National Rodeo this year! I don’t think about myself as a breast cancer SURVIVOR, I think of myself as a breast cancer FIGHTER! I know we’ll meet our goal and encourage Rodeo fans to purchase or gift a Pink Plate through our website, so we can reach our goal of 7,500!” – Chere Rush, Discovery Bay, California Pink Plate Co-Founder

pinkplatecarFor 70 years the iconic Cow Palace Arena & Event Center has been celebrating the old west and inspiring youth to take part in the agriculture industry through their annual Grand National Livestock Exposition, Horse Show and Rodeo event. From top to bottom, the Cow Palace is filled with the ultimate western experience including an agriculture exhibition, a professional Rodeo in partnership with the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association), and a classic western marketplace – including mechanical bull rides, live music, BBQ, shopping, and more.

The family-friendly event takes place all day over two, action-packed weekends on Oct. 14-15 and Oct. 21-22, 2016. Although tickets must be purchased for the Grand National Rodeo in the main arena, the Livestock Exposition, Horse Show, Interactive Agricultural Area, and Marketplace are FREE to the public.

Use coupon code ‘PINK’ to receive $6.00 off reserve Dress Circle tickets or $11.00 off reserved Box Seat tickets to the Oct. 14-15 & 21-22 rodeo performances. Tickets can be purchased on the Cow Palace website ( For more details contact or call 415-414-4100.

Event Schedule, Friday Oct. 21 – ‘Tough Enough to Wear Pink Day’

NCA Dog Trials

PRCA Rodeo

About California Pink Plate:

Pink Plate’s mission is to educate, promote and raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness in California. Early detection saves lives. We can think of no better way to spread this message than through the California Pink Ribbon License Plate. All funds generated from sales of the California Pink Ribbon License Plate will be deposited into the Breast Cancer Control Account, which funds the Every Woman Counts (EWC) program (click here). EWC is administered by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and provides free clinical breast exams and mammograms to Cal ifornia’s underserved women.

About Bay Area Cancer Connections

Bay Area Cancer Connections is a nonprofit organization that supports people touched by breast and ovarian cancer by providing comprehensive, personalized services in an atmosphere of warmth and compassion. The non-profit provides free programs and services that address survivorship needs of all those facing breast and ovarian cancer in the Bay Area, including early breast cancer detection services for low-income uninsured young women and men. Learn more at​

Free Tickets

If you know a breast cancer survivor who would like to attend the Grand National Rodeo with their family on Friday, September 21st for free, contact the Antioch Herald at and we’ll reserve a ticket good for them and four guests. Tickets are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition, we also have a free General Admission ticket good for any of the four days, available to the first four readers who contact us.

See the full schedule of the 2016 Grand National Rodeo, by clicking here:


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DeSaulnier calls for investigation into Purdue Pharma and overprescribing of opioid painkillers

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Ted Lieu (CA-33) called on House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to initiate an immediate investigation into the egregious overprescribing of opioid prescription painkillers and the inaction of Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies that may be aware of inappropriate opioid distribution by bad actors.

Recent reports by the Los Angeles Times exposed that Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive painkiller OxyCotin, collected extensive evidence on the overprescribing and illegal trafficking of the substance for more than a decade, yet the company failed to notify the appropriate federal and state authorities. During the course of their inaction, sales of OxyCotin at some pharmacies increased by over 1400 percent. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and simultaneously so have sales of these prescription drugs.

“Despite receiving evidence from pharmacists and its own employees regarding suspected criminal trafficking of opioids, Purdue Pharma reportedly refused to take action and continued to engage in irresponsible practices that may have violated the law. In California, I was a leader in the fight to improve the state prescription drug monitoring program to prevent overprescribing by physicians and doctor shopping. Congress has a responsibility to investigate pharmaceutical companies that work around these reporting systems, ignore reports of illegal activity, disregard patient safety for the sake of profits, and endanger the public health,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier.

“I am troubled to learn of Purdue Pharma’s inappropriate opioid distribution practices. Reports indicating Purdue Pharma knowingly disregarded evidence of criminal drug trafficking of its drug reveals the company’s clear negligence for patient safety, medical ethics, and legal responsibilities all for the sake of profit. The fact that the United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic is cause for serious concern and we must hold those responsible accountable. As a member of the House Oversight Committee, I urge the Committee to initiate an investigation into this matter,” said Congressman Ted Lieu.

Click here to read a full copy of the letter sent to Chairman Jason Chaffetz.

To read complete coverage of Purdue Pharma by the Los Angeles Times click here.

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New City Sports Club in Antioch to hold Grand Opening, Sat., April 30

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016


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Rep. McNerney applauds Grand Opening of new Antioch Health Center

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Antioch, CA – On Wednesday, February 17, 2016, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) applauded the grand opening of the new Antioch Health Center, a facility that will allow Contra Costa Health Services to meet the growing demand for health care services in the East County region. The Congressman also had the chance to tour the new facility that includes nearly double the number of exam rooms as the health center’s previous location on Lone Tree Way.

“This is a great day for the people of Antioch, the greater Contra Costa region, and our Ninth Congressional District,” said McNerney. “I believe that access to quality health care is an important building block that helps our community prosper and grow. This new Antioch Health Center is larger, with the capacity to provide medical care to more patients seeking care. I am confident that this health center will help improve community health and be a valuable resource that will serve people for years to come.”

According to Contra Costa Health Services, the new Antioch Health Center will integrate behavioral care and physical health care to better address the needs of its patients.

“As Health Director of Contra Costa Health Services, I am grateful for the opening of this new Health Center which will expand access to health care in East County,” said Dr. William Walker, Director of Contra Costa Health Services. “I am particularly proud of the opportunity for further integration of physical and behavioral health services, so necessary for truly addressing the needs of our patients.”

The new Antioch Health Center will have 20 medical exam rooms and two group rooms – twice the number of exam rooms at the center’s old facility. The Antioch Health Center manages over a thousand visits each week.

Congressman Jerry McNerney represents California’s 9th Congressional District which includes portions of San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Sacramento Counties including most of Antioch. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.

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