Apostle Gerrit W. Gong, the highest-ranking leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints known to have contracted COVID-19, has completed his quarantine and anticipates resuming his religious duties next week.
The church reported Oct. 8 that the 66-year-old Gong and his wife, Susan, had been experiencing “very mild symptoms” and were recovering at home.
“We are very moved and grateful for the many well-wishes and prayers we have received from you from around the world,” Gong tweeted Friday. “Thank you for your faith on our behalf. Our doctors indicate we have now both successfully completed our quarantines.”
Gong said the couple would continue taking precautions — wearing masks, frequently washing their hands, and practicing social distancing.
“I look forward to returning to my full responsibilities next week,” he added. “We are most grateful to you and look forward to being with you again soon.”
When Gong was diagnosed in early October, other top Latter-day Saint leaders, including 96-year-old President Russell M. Nelson, were tested “out of an abundance of caution.”
“All members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were tested,” church spokesman Eric Hawkins said last week, “and all tests were negative.”
This announcement marked the first time the Utah-based faith had stated publicly that Nelson and other high-level church authorities had been tested — and cleared. Many of these authorities are in their 70s, 80s and even 90s, and would be deemed at increased risk of complications if they contracted COVID-19.
Gong, the first Asian American apostle in the 16.5 million-member global faith, did not attend this month’s all-virtual General Conference in person. Instead, he delivered a prerecorded talk Oct. 3, when the church stated he had been “potentially exposed” to the coronavirus.
Three days later, a news release reported that Gong and his wife had tested positive for COVID-19.