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1st Utahn to die of COVID-19 attended Bountiful temple last week, church confirms

Bountiful Utah Temple
Bountiful Utah Temple
Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

SALT LAKE CITY — The first Utahn to die from COVID-19 attended the Bountiful Utah Temple last week before succumbing to the virus on Sunday, according to a spokeswoman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I can confirm the (individual) was a member of the church who attended the temple on a day in the week prior to his diagnosis,” Irene Caso said.

Local health officials said the temple attendance should not cause alarm.

“Patrons, volunteers or workers at the Bountiful temple are not considered at risk because their temple attendance was prior to the case’s onset of symptoms,” said Isa Perry, public information officer for the Davis County Health Department. “Our guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control are that those who are considered at risk are those who were in close contact after onset of symptoms.”

The CDC website says “people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest),” but that “some spread might be possible before people show symptoms... .”

Utah Department of Health officials announced the Davis County man’s death on Sunday in a news conference. They said he was over the age of 60 and had tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. He was treated for two days at Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful before he died.

Hours after the news conference, the church announced on Sunday evening that it had closed the temple. The Bountiful temple was the first of the church’s 17 Utah temples to close due to the pandemic.

On Monday afternoon, the church announced it had closed its second Utah temple.

“Due to a potential COVID-19 exposure, the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, which has been closed for maintenance, will remain closed for an additional week for evaluation,” Caso said.

The church now has closed 103 of its 168 temples around the world. The rest are operating on limited hours and performing living ordinances like temple weddings or sealings with fewer than 10 people at a time.

Health officials at Sunday’s news conference said they are working to contact anyone who may have been in close contact with the man before he tested positive for the illness.

They also said his infection appeared to be travel-related and not a case of community spread.

The protocol for a positive COVID-19 test is for local health department officials to do an investigation of the places an infected person has been and the people with whom he or she has been in contact to determine who might be at risk, said Jenny Johnson, a public information specialist with the Utah State Department of Health.

Anyone who has had close contact is told to quarantine and to watch for symptoms. They also are asked to check in with their local health department once or twice a day.

In a Facebook post, the man’s daughter said she was grateful to have him as her father and talked about his death.

He died quickly after the family prayed that he wouldn’t suffer, she said in the post. The family had known his lungs were compromised and he was “at risk.”

“Keeping our faith and trusting in God’s plan has led us to peace even with this outcome. If you have a loved one suffering from this virus right now, feel free to reach out. The pain is real,” she said in the post. “Please don’t let this heighten any fears you may have of the virus. I know this is scary, but I also know that God does not give us the spirit of fear.”

The temples currently closed are:

  1. Aba Nigeria Temple
  2. Accra Ghana Temple
  3. Adelaide Australia Temple
  4. Albuquerque New Mexico Temple
  5. Apia Samoa Temple
  6. Arequipa Peru Temple
  7. Asunción Paraguay Temple
  8. Barranquilla Colombia Temple
  9. Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple
  10. Bern Switzerland Temple
  11. Bogotá Colombia Temple
  12. Boston Massachusetts Temple
  13. Bountiful Utah Temple
  14. Brisbane Australia Temple
  15. Buenos Aires Argentina Temple
  16. Campinas Brazil Temple
  17. Caracas Venezuela Temple
  18. Cebu City Philippines Temple
  19. Chicago Illinois Temple
  20. Cochabamba Bolivia Temple
  21. Columbia River Washington Temple
  22. Columbus Ohio Temple
  23. Concepcion Chile Temple
  24. Copenhagen Denmark Temple
  25. Córdoba Argentina Temple
  26. Curitiba Brazil Temple
  27. Dallas Texas Temple
  28. Denver Colorado Temple
  29. Detroit Michigan Temple
  30. Durban South Africa Temple
  31. Fortaleza Brazil Temple
  32. Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple
  33. Frankfurt Germany Temple
  34. Freiberg Germany Temple
  35. Fresno California Temple
  36. Fukuoka Japan Temple
  37. Guadalajara Mexico Temple
  38. Guatemala City Guatemala Temple
  39. Guayaquil Ecuador Temple
  40. Halifax Nova Scotia Temple
  41. Hartford Connecticut Temple
  42. Helsinki Finland Temple
  43. Houston Texas Temple
  44. Indianapolis Indiana Temple
  45. Kansas City Missouri Temple
  46. Kinshasa DR Congo Temple
  47. Kyiv Ukraine Temple
  48. Laie Hawaii Temple
  49. Las Vegas Nevada Temple
  50. Lima Peru Temple
  51. Lisbon Portugal Temple
  52. London England Temple
  53. Los Angeles California Temple
  54. Louisville Kentucky Temple
  55. Madrid Spain Temple
  56. Manaus Brazil Temple
  57. Manhattan New York Temple
  58. Manila Philippines Temple
  59. Medford Oregon Temple
  60. Melbourne Australia Temple
  61. Montreal Quebec Temple
  62. Nauvoo Illinois Temple
  63. Newport Beach California Temple
  64. Oakland California Temple
  65. Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple
  66. Palmyra New York Temple
  67. Panama City Panama Temple
  68. Papeete Tahiti Temple
  69. Paris France Temple
  70. Perth Australia Temple
  71. Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple
  72. Porto Alegre Brazil Temple
  73. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple
  74. Portland Oregon Temple
  75. Preston England Temple
  76. Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple
  77. Recife Brazil Temple
  78. Redlands California Temple
  79. Regina Saskatchewan Temple
  80. Reno Nevada Temple
  81. Rexburg Idaho Temple
  82. Rome Italy Temple
  83. Sacramento California Temple
  84. San Antonio Texas Temple
  85. San Diego California Temple
  86. San Jose Costa Rica Temple
  87. San Salvador El Salvador Temple
  88. Santiago Chile Temple
  89. Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple
  90. São Paulo Brazil Temple
  91. Sapporo Japan Temple
  92. Seattle Washington Temple
  93. Seoul Korea Temple
  94. St. Louis Missouri Temple
  95. Stockholm Sweden Temple
  96. Sydney Australia Temple
  97. Taipei Taiwan Temple
  98. Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple
  99. The Hague Netherlands Temple
  100. Toronto Ontario Temple
  101. Trujillo Peru Temple
  102. Tucson Arizona Temple
  103. Vancouver British Columbia Temple