Friday, June 5, 2009

Quarantine in the MTC: A Missionary Sister's Perspective

One missionary's mother reported on her daughter's missionary blog an indepth account of what her daughter said was happening at the MTC concerning the swine flu. In a post Sister Erica Rogers called Quarantined she tells how missionaries are handling efforts to combat the swine flu epidemic there:
Greetings from the Provo Missionary Training Center! I figured that the title to this blog would get your attention. Did it? Well, hopefully. Quarantine is such a fun word, isn't it?

Saturday, there was an official case of swine flu detected at the MTC, so preventative measures have been put in place to try and keep things from spreading like wildfire. With the constant influx of new missionaries each Wednesday and the droves of those leaving each week for various parts of the country, it is imperative that they took such drastic steps to keep things from going crazy. There are about 2,000 missionaries here right now, and it's really easy for communicable diseases to go around (like the cold I inherited from Sister Judd). Any flu-like symptoms are reasons for missionaries to not go to class or to the cafeteria and isolate themselves from the rest of the missionaries. More severe symptoms, like a persistent fever, actually lead to a trip to the hospital.

Two of the elders in my zone have been placed in actual quarantine after visiting the hospital. They are kept in isolation, not allowed to come out of the building, for five days until they receive a clean bill of health. Which is a good thing.

These drastic implementations have brought out a lot of human characteristics that I find amusing. I mean, I shouldn't find them amusing...but I do. Some are paranoid about getting sick, going to extreme measures to avoid those they think are "sick". Some of the elders headed to Japan have face masks they wear to keep from getting sick, which is a good idea, but other missionaries assume they're wearing the masks because they're sick, and then it cannonballs into almost hysteria. People don't know what their symptoms mean, and I think some of those who are sick suffer mostly just from mass hysteria. Living with another person twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week can lead to that sort of assumption you'll end up sick, after all. There are those who are more reasonable--but we have been counseled to stay in our residence hall if we do have any symptoms. Which means that I was the only member of my district in class last night. Which means I joined one of the younger districts. Which is great.

Missionaries who were scheduled to depart this week are being kept here an extra week to ensure they don't develop any symptoms of Swine Flu. Missionaries coming tomorrow, unfortunately, aren't going to be able to say goodbye to their parents. They'll be dropped off at the curb and have to say goodbye there in order to keep us from being exposed from even more contaminates.

There's no need to worry, though. Those who are sick are receiving treatment, and those who aren't sick are pressing forward. The Lord truly does watch over us all. He isn't going to keep me from catching a cold just because I'm on a mission--the Lord wants to give us the opportunity to grow and progress. My patience is being tried this week, which is great. The only way to really know you have patience or to learn how to get it is to be placed in situations that don't seem to go the speed or way you want them to go.

Wow this H1N1 virus is really worse than I thought. I am glad my daughter is already out in the mission field in Taiwan not back at the MTC. Finding an actual onsite account is interesting. That is the beauty of reading the missionaries' blogs and seeing what is really happening. The church is keeping a good lid on conditions in the MTC so there isn't panic out there. I believe the leaders are handling it very well. Even if my daughter were in Utah I have every confidence that the missionaries are medically being protected by MTC and health professionals in Provo. I think if anything the Church is being overly cautious as well they should be and going to great lengths to protect both the missionaries in Provo and those they would contact once they arrive in their fields of labor.

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