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Winston-Salem woman quarantined on cruise ship with threat of coronavirus returns home

Candace Culcleasure has returned home and is back in the United States, according to her mother.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A Winston-Salem performer has now returned home after quarantined on a cruise ship due to the threat of the coronavirus.

Candace Culcleasure was among the passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, quarantined in Japan since February 3rd.

Candace's mother confirmed with WFMY on Tuesday, she is now "off the boat and back in the states."

According to Alvin Armstead, the Senior Pastor of the United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, Culcleasure is one of the church's members and was traveling on the cruise ship where she is employed as an entertainer.

RELATED: Japan finds 41 more coronavirus cases on cruise ship as death toll rises in China

Armstead said her mother was asking for the congregation and the community to lift Candace up in prayer to see her through the ordeal. 

"I would imagine that there is some level of worry, of concern and possibly fear, certainly for her as a parent being concerned, it hit home as well for a lot of our congregants and the community of Winston," said Armstead.

According to her website, Candace Culcleasure is an actress and vocalist from Winston-Salem, NC, currently residing in New York, NY.

'Candace is a graduate of Florida State University's School of Music. She was a featured Guest Entertainer on Princess Cruise Ships and has performed in several regional theaters across the country incorporating many different music styles and genres. Although classically trained, Candace has a special love for jazz music. She has performed with numerous bands including the Thursday Night Music Club in Florida, The Amaretto Band in Washington DC. and opened at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and the National Black Theatre Festival,' the website reads.

Pastor Armstead said Culcleasure had access to wifi and was able to communicate with family and friends to keep her engaged as the quarantine of the cruise ship continued. Armstead said Culcleasure was well and was not one of the passengers who had shown symptoms of the virus. 

"She's just trying to keep her spirits up which is the main thing and as new cases and a new person is identified obviously that can weigh on you because you're wondering, am I going to be next, is it going to be a knock on my door," Armstead said.

During an interview with WFMY, Pastor Armstead had this message of prayer for Candace and those aboard the cruise ship.

RELATED: Coronavirus hotline and task force part of North Carolina’s protective efforts

The U.S.-operated Diamond Princess was returning to Japan from a 14-day tour during and had stopped at Hong Kong and several other Asian ports. 

Authorities said an 80-year-old male passenger who had gotten off the cruise ship at a Hong Kong port tested positive for the virus and that prompted a notification to the ship and Japanese authorities to enforce a quarantine and begin testing passengers.

So far there have been a total of 174 confirmed coronavirus cases on the cruise ship with 39 new cases reported, early February.

The death toll from the disease continues to rise in China and currently stands at 1,113 with 44,653 confirmed cases in the mainland, according to Officials at China's National Health Commission. 

The World Health Organization has now officially named the new disease outbreak COVID-19; however, the name of the virus which causes the disease remains the same.

The outbreak of the disease is raising concerns for many businesses and travelers across the world and the United States.

American Airlines has canceled flights to mainland China and Hong Kong through April 24. 

NC Governor Sets Up Coronavirus taskforce 

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper formalized the state's ongoing effort to monitor and prepare for the coronavirus by creating a task force, last week.

The state's Coronavirus Task Force will work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while coordinating across state agencies. It also means the DHHS will work with local health departments and clinicians to evaluate potential cases and coordinate care and testing as needed.

"Though currently, the risk to North Carolinians is low, we are taking a proactive approach and are prepared for potential scenarios," said Governor Cooper. "This task force will continue coordination between our agencies and federal partners so we can keep the public informed and safe."

Health leaders said the same steps to prevent the spread of the flu and common cold also protect against the coronavirus.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

Avoid exposure to others who are sick.

Stay home when you are ill.

The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.

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