Waffle House worker quarantined with coronavirus tells his story

ATLANTA — A Waffle House employee who was diagnosed with the coronavirus and sent to a quarantine unit at a Georgia state park is telling his story.

Channel 2′s Tony Thomas talked to Joey Camp, the only person in quarantine in the government trailers set up at Hard Labor Creek State Park.

Camp, 30, has been in isolation for four days.

Camp told Thomas he only has a mild cough after being diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus. The Cherokee County man said he has diabetes and was first diagnosed with pneumonia. Camp said people shouldn’t worry so much about the illness, unless they have a compromised immune system like he does.

“I want people to stop freaking out,” Camp said. “I want people to calm down and understand, yes it’s an infectious disease, and yes, if your immune system is compromised, it’s dangerous.”

Right now, Camp is the only infected person living in one of the six trailers being monitored by state health workers in the Morgan County park. He said his trailer has a refrigerator and freezer and that it’s not so bad. He said he spends his days watching movies and the craziness developing everywhere else.

“I think it’s a mild inconvenience that we are treating this like it’s Ebola,” Camp said.

On Thursday, Camp was allowed outside for the first time with a mask. He told Thomas that after days of no human contact, he’s a little stir-crazy.

"It's nice to enjoy a little bit of fresh air," Camp told Thomas.

The state public health commissioner hopes that quarantining people like Camp and canceling events will curb the virus.

“What we are trying to do is to keep that spread of person-to-person disease from going so quickly, we call the epidemic curve, to be so steep that we overwhelm our hospitals,” Dr. Kathleen Toomey said.

Camp hopes to go back home in three to nine days.

“When I stop shedding the virus is when they are probably going to be able to release me," Camp said.

Camp said he’s worried about what’s going to happen when he goes home.

"With how crazy people have been acting out in the real world, I’m going to get prepared for mass hysteria,” Camp said.

Camp could have self-quarantined at home but was living with a family with a child and didn’t want to infect the baby. His advice?

“Wash your hands. Just be mindful of normal human hygiene and we will make it through this,” he said.

The State Department of Public Health said 56% of the confirmed cases of coronavirus in Georgia are in men. More than half are 60+.

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