Elder Gerrit W. Gong, of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife, Susan Lindsay Gong, have tested positive for COVID-19.
During this weekend’s general conference, church spokesman Eric Hawkins reported that Gong had recently learned that he had the potential of having been exposed to COVID-19.
“He is feeling well, but out of an abundance of caution is participating in general conference from home this weekend,” Hawkins said. “His remarks were previously recorded for this session.”
Since that time a diagnosis in the positive has been confirmed.
On Tuesday, Hawkins reported, “Their condition is mild, but they are being cautious and their health is being carefully monitored by doctors.”
The church will follow all appropriate health protocols for contact tracing and will continue to follow health guidelines for this virus to protect church leaders, including self-isolation, as appropriate,
“We continue to encourage all church members to take steps to protect themselves and one another during this global pandemic,” Hawkins said.
During the conference, speakers had noted they have not been able to travel like they typically do. The conference broadcast showed that all attending and participating were wearing face masks and social distancing.
Members of the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve are all over 65, except Elder Ulisses Soares. Most of the leaders are over 70 years old with President Russell M. Nelson being 96.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is following the lead of governments and healthcare professionals around the world as it considers a measured return to normal operating procedures disrupted by COVID-19,” a church statement released in May said.
The church is moving forward in all areas of the world with ample caution, always strictly following the guidance of governments to prevent the spread of the pandemic. “Your safety and well-being will always be our utmost concern,” Nelson said on May 6.
Nelson, a world-renowned heart surgeon, has been particularly aware of the worldwide pandemic since hearing the first reports out of Wuhan, China, in January.
By March, church meetings had been canceled with home study and church support programs in full effect. Temples worldwide have been closed most of the year and are just beginning to open in phases.
General conferences in April and October have been kept to just the speakers only. The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square has been broadcasting prerecorded music and has not met since March.