What happens if a missionary gets COVID-19?

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UPDATE 5/19/2020: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints releases phased plan to return to some weekly worship services

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Prior to returning home from foreign countries, thousands of missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints undergo a self-isolation, according to a church spokesman.  

On March 30, the Church reports two of its missionaries tested positive for COVID-19. However, its unknown where the missionaries were serving or where they are from.

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In a previous email, a Church spokesman continues to say missionaries have avoided contact with others outside their apartments, and upon returning home, they are asked to self-isolate for another 14 days.

Because COVID-19 symptoms may not arise immediately, a person may not know they have the respiratory virus, with the potential to infect multiple people.

ABC4 News took this question to Dr. Angela Dunn, the state’s epidemiologist, who said missionaries that contract the virus are treated like any other positive patient.

“Required by law to be immediately reported to the health department,” Dunn said. “Our health department case investigators contact that patient and we go through a calendar from two days before their symptoms started to the present day, and talk through with them everything that happened in the day.”

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She said the health department then contacts those who had close contact with the individual testing positive.

“This is a standard public health practice. We have very skilled contact investigators who have worked on these sorts of investigations for diseases beyond COVID-19,” Dunn said.

And as for the Church’s responsibility with testing missionaries, ABC4 News reached out to church officials who declined comment.

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