Clay Bentley is currently under quarantine at a hospital and said it feels like he’s “in prison”

By Julie Mazziotta
March 11, 2020 12:45 PM

A Georgia man with the new coronavirus is speaking out about the issues with testing, as well as what it’s like to be under a restrictive quarantine.

Clay Bentley is currently under quarantine in a hospital in Rome, Georgia, after being diagnosed with the new coronavirus, officially termed COVID-19. He has since developed double pneumonia in his lungs, but said in an interview with CNN that he’s doing well.

“It’s been a long road. But I’m getting through it. I’m improving daily,” he said.

Bentley’s frustrations, however, are with the current coronavirus testing process.

“I came to the hospital last Monday, really really sick,” he said. “They asked if I had been in China or different places in the world and I told them no.” He was tested for the flu and it came back negative, so he was sent home.

His conditioned worsened.

“I wound up calling the hospital on Friday morning, and once I got back to the hospital they started realizing that I probably had the coronavirus and they got tests from the CDC and started doing tests, and it all came back positive,” he said.

“So the thing they talk about, being out of the country, as being one of the indicators for the test — I don’t go anywhere. I’m retired.”

Bentley said that after he was diagnosed, his 36-year-old son was told to quarantine, even though they had not recently seen each other.

“I feel like everyone’s running in mass hysteria, trying to take care of things instead of finding the people who need to be tested,” he said. “Let’s take care of the problem [through testing].”

The U.S. has been unable to test citizens at the same rate as other countries due to issues with the testing kits from the CDC. The original batch of kits was contaminated, and the agency is now shipping out new versions to states, but not at the rate that states expected.

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Bentley said he’s also struggling with his own quarantine.

“I feel like I‘m in prison, because nobody can come see me. I can’t even walk out of the room,” he said. “I worked law enforcement my whole career, so I feel like I’m in a jail cell and just can’t get away.”

“Hopefully, I’ll be out of here soon,” he added. “It’s very lonely, it’s a lonely place to be sick, and you can’t even talk to your own family.”

Bentley is one of 22 cases in Georgia, which has the seventh-most cases of the 38 states with confirmed cases nationwide. There are currently at least 1,015 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., as of March 11, and 31 deaths.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control said that in the U.S., “many will become sick” as the virus spreads.

“It’s fair to say that as the trajectory of the outbreak continues, many people in the United States, will at some point in time, either this year or next, be exposed to this virus. And there’s a good chance that many will become sick,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

She said, however, that the virus will be mild for the majority of people, with symptoms such as coughing, sneezing and a fever.

“Based on what we know about this virus, we do not expect most people to develop serious illness,” she said. “Reports out of China that looked at more than 70,000 COVID-19 patients found that about 80 percent of illness was mild, and people recovered. 15 to 20 percent develop serious illness.”

The CDC is recommending that people in high-risk demographics — people over age 60 and those with preexisting conditions — stay home as much as possible.

The federal health agency also says that the best prevention methods are basic forms of hygiene — careful handwashing, avoiding touching the face, moving away from people who are coughing or sneezing and staying home at signs of illness.