First coronavirus patient to be isolated by Georgia is heading home

Georgia health officials say Canton man is “cured”

The only coronavirus patient to be isolated at Georgia’s special quarantine site said state health officials were sending him home to Canton Sunday.

Joey Camp, a former Georgia National Guardsmen who cooked at a Waffle House in Canton before he became ill, said he previously understood he would be staying at Hard Labor Creek State Park near Rutledge for a 14-day quarantine.

But he said the Georgia Health Department informed him Sunday morning he no longer needed to be quarantined and should return home because he did not have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Suffering from a fever, chills and aching joints, Camp first visited Northside Hospital Cherokee on March 5. A diabetic, he said he was diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for COVID-19 there. He was discharged on March 9 before being sent by ambulance to the remote isolation site at the state park Tuesday. State officials have set up seven emergency trailers at the park to isolate and monitor coronavirus patients.

“I’m leaving all my medical stuff up to the medical professionals,” Camp said moments before adding that state health officials had arrived in a van to take him home. “If they deem that I am no longer contagious… I can start making a paycheck again.”

“I can now join society,” he said. “I’m happy that I’m getting to leave.”

Camp said he hopes to return to work cooking for Waffle House, which announced last week that it had closed its 1849 Marietta Highway location in Canton and was preparing to sanitize it after one of its employees tested positive for the disease.

State health officials said Sunday Camp did not need to be retested for COVID-19 and could be released from the park because he has been asymptomatic for a full week, adding he is considered “cured.”

“That is the new CDC guidance being followed by states,” the Georgia Department of Public Health said. “He was also hospitalized for some time before isolation at the park.”