How and when Payton became infected with COVID-19 is unclear.
ESPN reported Payton took a test Monday and received his results Thursday after not feeling well Sunday. He does not have a fever or a cough but is experiencing fatigue. He will be quarantined at home through the weekend. The report notes Payton is “upbeat and optimistic about a full recovery.”
Payton, 56, has served as New Orleans’ coach since 2006.
“This is not just about social distancing,” Payton told ESPN. “It’s shutting down here for a week to two weeks. If people understand the curve, and understand the bump, we can easily work together as a country to reduce it. Take a minute to understand what the experts are saying. It’s not complicated to do what they’re asking of us. Just that type of small investment by every one of us will have a dramatic impact.
“I was fortunate to be in the minority, without the serious side effects that some have. I’m lucky. Younger people feel like they can handle this, but they can be a carrier to someone who can’t handle it. So we all need to do our part. It’s important for every one of us to do our part.
“The concern with Louisiana is the amount of people that come in and out of this area after Mardi Gras season. This is an area that doctors are concerned about. So our parents, and those that are more susceptible to this virus, deserve everyone doing their best to combat it.
“There are hundreds of people right now in tough predicaments, fighting for their lives. Let’s be part of the solution, not the problem. We can easily help reduce the numbers of those impacted. We have to do our best to beat this and I know we can.”
Payton confirmed his quarantine status in a tweet Thursday afternoon.
NFL offseason programs have been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, and new guidelines were introduced around the free agency period that began Wednesday.
Teams have been told to close their facilities to players, other than those undergoing medically supervised rehab, for the next two weeks.
“Based on the most recent guidance provided by leading health officials, and in consultation with the NFLPA and both our and the union’s medical advisors, we believe this is the appropriate way to protect the health of our players, staff, and our communities,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We will continue to make decisions based on the best advice from medical and public health experts and will be prepared to make further modifications as needed.”