Forty-Seven People Sick at the Oak Glen Christian Conference Center, Was It Food Poisoning?
Yucaipa, San Bernardino County, California &
Corona, Riverside County, California.
Thirteen people, mostly children, were rushed by ambulance to local hospitals in San Bernardino, California. Thirty-four more people, forty-seven in all, were ill with what may have been severe food poisoning. On the evening of Saturday, March 25th, first responders from the Yucaipa Fire Department, Riverside County Fire Department, and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (“Cal Fire”) converged on the Oak Glen Christian Conference Center in Yucaipa, California. These emergency workers were responding to a call that came in at approximately 8:20pm from Oak Glen. At 10:30pm on March 25th, Cal Fire spokesperson Debbie Chapman reported that authorities were, at that time, unable to confirm what caused the victims to fall ill. The victims’ symptoms indicate that they may be suffering from food poisoning.
According to Cal Fire spokesperson Debbie Chapman, five fire units and ten ambulances were called in to help the victims. San Bernardino County Sherriff’s Office personnel also responded to the call. Several of the ill were rushed to nearby hospitals in American Medical Responses ambulances.
While the ages of the victims are currently unknown, Facebook’s LoudLabs News relates that there are reports that minor children are among the victims of this suspected food poisoning outbreak. Authorities are continuing to investigate the cause of these illnesses.
Forty-Seven Ill, Thirteen Rushed to Hospitals for Emergency Treatment
NBC’s Jane Yamamoto reports that 47 people were sick and thirteen people, mostly children, were rushed by ambulance to local hospitals. At this time, the exact symptoms and medical diagnosis is unknown. What bacteria or virus may have caused the illnesses remains to be divulged.
Three church groups were at the Oak Glen Christian Conference Center at the time. Dinner was served buffet style to all three church groups, which is the typical service style for the event center. However, only members of one church group, Connecting Point Community of Corona, California, became sick. Everyone who got sick reportedly had similar symptoms. Also, people reportedly got sick at the same time. At this time, it is unknown what their exact symptoms were or what meal had been served for dinner that night.
After people fell ill, the Oak Glen Christian Conference Center temporarily closed to allow the local agencies to conduct investigations on the premises. The San Bernardino Division of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) is investigating this incident. In basic fashion, the health agency will most likely collect food and beverage samples form the event center’s kitchens, as well as conduct a general health inspection into the location’s kitchens. As of March 26th, the conference center was still closed pending the investigation. It is unknown as to when it will reopen.
In the meantime, DEHS will likely contact the victims of this incident in the coming week to conduct interviews as to what they have have eaten in common. The agency has not yet released details of when it expects to commence this part of its investigation or when a possible report may be released.
Oak Glen Christian Conference Center
The Oak Glen Christian Conference Center has been operating since 1956. Oak Glen provides a place for church youth and family retreats, conferences, and other outdoor activities. The all-inclusive conference center provides guests with three meals a day in addition to sleeping accommodations. Dinner is typically served at 5:30pm., which is complete with a salad bar and a dessert course. Details surrounding whether or not the food is made solely on the conference center’s site are currently unknown. It is also not yet reported whether or not a food service worker may have been ill or if the center’s food storage temperatures/ methods are being questioned.
About Connecting Point Community
News reports indicate that all of those taken ill are members of the Connecting Point Community church. According to its website, “Connecting Point Community is on a mission to reach the cities of Corona, Hesperia and the surrounding areas with a positive, yet simple Apostolic message that Jesus Christ loves all people. Part of this mission is to create a safe environment in each service that you can express yourself to God and feel His power at work in your life. If you do not have a relationship with Christ or are seeking to reconnect with Him, Connecting Point can help – that is [Connecting Point’s] mission.” Connecting Point’s stated purpose is to help its members “experience life again emotionally, intellectually, and socially through a strong relationship with Christ as your savior. We have a passion to show the world that our God is a loving and caring individual that is concerned about you and your life. You will discover joy, peace, freedom, and fulfillment in your relationship with Christ at Connecting Point.” Connecting Point envisions itself as providing “a safe, healthy, and growing community of believers that are committed to connecting with God, with others, and our purpose. “
Most Foodborne Illnesses Go Unreported
Most foodborne illnesses go unreported in the United States each year. Local and state health agencies urge patients diagnosed with food poisoning to report their illnesses to public health authorities. As Maryland’s DHMH puts it, “Reporting cases of known or suspected infectious diseases to public health authorities in Maryland serves to protect the public’s health by ensuring the proper identification and follow-up of cases. Public health workers at both local and state levels follow individual cases to ensure proper treatment, identify potential sources of infection, provide education to reduce the risk of transmission, identify susceptible contacts, and take other measures aimed at reducing the spread of disease. Analysis of data across all cases helps to monitor the impact of those conditions, measure trends, identify areas of risk, detect outbreaks, monitor control efforts, and allocate resources effectively.” To make it easier to report instances of serious foodborne illness in your state, UnsafeFoods.com has amassed a fifty state list of health departments and their contact information.
Continuing Coverage for Parents and Family Members
For more information, please visit UnsafeFoods.com, where we will be following the details of this incident and providing continuing coverage of the possible food poisoning outbreak at the Oak Glen Christian Conference Center in Yucaipa, San Bernardino County, California. Routine updates will be posted as new information is found and released.
Robins Cloud LLP is a national law firm dedicated to helping families who have been harmed by large corporations. Robins Cloud LLP helps victims of defective products and foodborne illnesses. The firm is providing free, no-obligation legal consultations to the individuals who have been made ill and families whose children may have been harmed.