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Lakewood woman fleeing China amid coronavirus threat

Posted at 11:22 PM, Feb 02, 2020

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Madeleine Elaban is living her wildest dreams, but the threat of the Coronavirus is forcing her out.

"I never thought in a million years that I would be overseas in China teaching English," Madeleine said. "Shanghai, which is a city of 27 million people, is very, very dead."

The Lakewood native has lived in China for nearly two years. She said right now things are hectic and people are scared of the deadly virus.

She's isolated herself in her apartment for the last 10 days

"I've taken all the precautions and have been very safe about where I go and what I touch and when I come back everything is sanitized," Madeleine said.

Monday, if all goes well, she'll land back here in the U.S., but the choice to return wasn't an easy one.

"A lot of my friends back home are like 'Oh, why can't you just pack your bag and come home?'" Madeleine said. "I've established a life here, I have friends here, I have a stable and steady job."

"The thought of her not being able to get home or us being able to get to her was frightening," Madeleine's mom Jennifer Elaban said.

Jennifer said she bought a flight for her daughter a few days ago and gave her the choice to come home or stay put.

"A whole month in isolation is not okay when we have the power to get you out, but we need to do it now," Jennifer said.

When Madeleine gets back, she'll stay with her sister and once again in isolation for the suggested two week incubation period.

"I run a home daycare and I can't take the risk so I won't be seeing her for a couple weeks," Jennifer said.

Right now, Madeleine does not know when, or even if, she'll be able to go back to the life she's built in China, but for now she has her health and lots of memories.

"Everyday there's a new challenge and there's something interesting to explore," Madeleine said.